‘The Runner-Up’: Is Clay Aiken Quitting Music?

“I don’t know that I want everything to be about people clapping for me.”


Photo: Clay Aiken in Shirt and TieSorry, Claymates!

Clay Aiken says his days of making music are likely over.

The AMERICAN IDOL finalist put his show business career on hold last year during a failed bid for Congress in the state of North Carolina.

His campaign is the subject of Esquire network’s new documentary THE RUNNER-UP.

“I am still trying to determine what it is that I want to do next,” he tells me.

“In order to go back to music, it becomes a little superficial, I think at some point.  I don’t know that I want everything to be about people clapping for me.”

Clay, 36, says he is also concerned that his staunch left-leaning politics may have cost him the loyalty of some fans.

“When I decided to run, I recognized that if I am going to do this, I am going to alienate people,” he says.  “That is how divisive politics is in this country.

“I flew through Atlanta on the way [to Los Angeles] and the lady at the counter when I went into the Delta Club said, ‘You know, I was such a supporter of yours until you became a Democrat.’”

“She is not anywhere near the first person who has said that to me.  So I have to be prepared for the fact that I might not be able to go back to singing.  I may have have isolated myself in that area.”

The openly gay father of Parker Foster Aiken, 6, was runner up on the second season of AMERICAN IDOL.

He lost to Ruben Studdard, who remains a friends and campaigned on Clay’s behalf.

“Losing AMERICAN IDOL didn’t mean that I had necessarily failed at anything,” Clay says.

“Losing the election meant that certain things that I thought were important to get done may not be able to get done.  This election was certainly more important [to me].”

Clay also came in second place on the 2012 edition of CELEBRITY APPRENTICE.

“I am stepping away from competitions,” he says.

THE RUNNER-UP airs in April 2015 on Esquire.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly