A Full Day of Clay: Raleigh’s American Idol Visits WRAL on Tour

A Full Day of Clay: Raleigh’s American Idol Visits WRAL on Tour

Clay Aiken
Raleigh’s own American Idol Clay Aiken visited the WRAL-FM studios before his concert on Aug. 6th.

Raleigh’s own American Idol Clay Aiken stopped by the WRAL-FM and WRAL-TV studios on Wednesday, August 6, 2003, the day of his big concert with fellow Idol finalists at the RBC Center. The homecoming for Aiken began early; he appeared on the radio waves with Bill & Sheri in the Morning on MIX 101.5 and then visited with Bill Leslie & Laurie Clowers on the noon news at Channel 5.

Scads of Clayniacs awaited Aiken’s arrival at MIX, along with news trucks from most of the area’s major television stations. Twenty extra-special Clay fans got to meet him up-close-and-personal. MIX selected the Triangle’s Top Ten Clayniacs based on email entries; those ten ladies each got to bring a friend and spend a few minutes with Aiken getting autographs and photos.

Clay Aiken w/ MIX's Bill & Sheri
Aiken appeared on WRAL-FM with Morning Hosts Bill Jordan & Sheri Logan.
For more photos from Clay Aiken’s visit to WRAL-FM & WRAL-TV, click here. Clay Aiken on WRAL's Noon News
Aiken also starred on WRAL’s Noon News with Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner (left) & Anchors Laurie Clowers & Bill Leslie.
One of Clay's young fans.
This young Clayniac won a chance to meet Aiken in person.
Clay greets fans.
Aiken greeted fans at WRAL-FM with Morning Co-Host Sheri Logan.
Clay Aiken
Aiken told tour tales during his half hour on MIX.

Before being whisked off in his limo, Aiken chatted with Bill & Sheri on the air about everything from the truth about his Rolling Stone photo shoot to his plans for the future. Aiken’s entourage had grown from his last visit to the station in May, but nothing had changed in his humble and grinning personality. In fact, Aiken still seemed amazed by his own celebrity.

“I may be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, but I’m still just a skinny white Southern boy,” he quipped. His amazement continued when Sheri showed him a copy of the day’s News & Observer; he appeared on the cover. Aiken appeared on WRAL’s Noon News and chatted with Anchors Bill Leslie & Laurie Clowers and Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. He also took some calls from viewers. He talked excitedly about being back in his hometown.

Clay Aiken & WRAL's Lynda Loveland
WRAL-TV’s Lynda Loveland interviewed Aiken in the Backlot area of the studio.

Clay fan dresses the part.
This Clay fan wore her love of Aiken proudly.

Clayniacs
Ten Clayniacs & their friends won a chance to meet Aiken and gave him an enthusiastic welcome..

“I usually hang out in the back of the bus and then go to sleep after a concert,” he said. “But last night I was sitting in the front seat pointing out my old high school to the bus driver.” The group had performed in Richmond and then made the late night trek to North Carolina.

The Clay Train
Aiken brought some American Idol heavy weights with him to Raleigh, besides his bodyguard Jerome. Londoner Bex Green, one of American Idol producers, brought a camera team to both WRAL’s to capture Aiken’s visit home for a two-part documentary she is putting together for FOX. The documentary will appear in two half-hour segments on the network in October. The first half will cover the rehearsals and build up to the American Idol tour; the second half will feature Ruben & Clay, their visits home and other events on tour.

AI Producer Bex Green works hard the whole time Clay is on duty.

Bex Green brought her own team of videographers & staff to cover the tour.

After the newscast Aiken spent a few minutes talking with WRAL-TV Anchor Lynda Loveland for segments on the evening news. Loveland took a break from maternity leave for the interview, and Aiken even got a chance to meet his youngest fan, Loveland’s one-month old daughter, Campbell.

Aiken told Loveland about his plans for finishing college at UNC-Charlotte via an independent study project. He has set up the Bubel-Aiken Foundation to benefit children with special needs. He named the organization in honor of Mike Bubel, an austic child with whom he worked in Charlotte. Bubel’s mother, Diane, gave Aiken the push that convinced him to audition for American Idol last year.

As for the future, Aiken says he hopes his foundation will be the longest lasting piece of his whirlwind of fame. His new CD should be released some time in September after the American Idol tour ends. He and fellow finalist Kimberly Locke are looking to split rent on a place somewhere in Los Angeles, where Aiken plans to base his career for now.

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