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Clay Time

Why EW.com readers love Clay. Who cares about nerdy looks? They're rooting for the wild card guy

American Idol | THE ART OF CLAY Aiken seems to be a fan favorite
THE ART OF CLAY Aiken seems to be a fan favorite

Why EW.com readers love Clay

Near the end of last season's ''American Idol,'' EW.com's message boards were exploding with love for Kelly Clarkson, the former ''ducka ducka ducka'' dork whose early performances Simon dismissed as forgettable. That, of course, was all ''Before Your Love'': Within the span of a season she rehabbed her image and, most importantly, upset smooth operator Justin Guarini to win the whole shebang.

Now, is it possible that the same fate awaits endearingly dorky North Carolinian Clay Aiken, who was passed over in his first semifinal but became America's choice in the wild-card round? If posters to our boards (many of them female) have anything to say about it, absolutely.

How do you love Clay? Let us count a few of the ways:

Joanne
Clay all the way!!!!!! Far more talent than any of the others and getting better looking every show. This man is a cross between Jimmy Dean and Bing Crosby in looks (nothing wrong with that - they were idols in their day) with the strongest, most perfect voice I've heard yet.

TANYA L
I THINK HE WILL CHANGE THE LITTLE GIRLS VEIW OF CUTE. THE GEEKY LOOK WILL COME IN. HE LOOKS BETTER THAN THE FIRST TIME I SAW HIM.

Kelsey
Clay has that "I'm your friend" look. I can't help but to fall in love :) Every time they said his name I clapped a little. He's awesome-But-I hope he goes to Broadway. He'd be more appreciated then he'd be w/ some of those mindless teenyboppers there are.

Barb R
I only saw this guy Clay for the initial tryouts, but his voice was so incredible I got goosebumps. I haven't had a chance to watch the show, but I'm glad to see he has made it so far. I can't stand hearing all the noise about how important looks are ...considering most of our most enduring "pop" artist would be considered dorks -- Elton John, Phil Collins, Elvis Costello and Billy Joel. How can you compete with that?

Lexi
Nothing else matters as long as Clay made it through... what took so long?? The guy has an incredible voice, a laid-back attitude, and is polite... he's a teacher!! Who else would be better as an idol to our American children?? Good luck, Clay. Can't wait to buy your CD.

Meanwhile, though most of you agree that image SHOULDN'T be everything, some are convinced that it's still a part of the total package in the music biz:

aliais
Do you really think that people are buying J.Lo and Britney albums because of their talent? No -- based on talent, those two wouldn't have made it to AI final 250. Looks are all part of the package, as insidious as it is.

Paul
OK. Talent is one thing and Clay definitely has it. As for image, I'm sorry to mimic Simon, but [it] IS 100% important nowadays...Clay is hands down the ugliest guy I've ever seen. His ears look like someone left the car doors open. Fear not though, this definitely won't be the end of the road for him. I hear Fox is planning a new reality series called, "Middle Earth Idol: The Search for the next big Hobbit". He's a shoe-in.

And let's not forget the other three performers who made it to the finals on Wednesday. When not professing devotion to Clay, readers were debating the judges' picks -- Kimberly Caldwell, Carmen Rasmusen, and one-name-only Trenyce:

Jaimie
Kimberly might just have the best voice of all of them but with the absolute worst choice of songs ever. She sounded great when she did old Motown, but Carole King?!? Figure it out and she could win. Keep singing bad songs...go home.

jj
Clay may be a great singer, but I don't agree with the people saying he was the only talent on that show last night. Trenyce was excellent! The girl can sing plus she is the only one up there who moved around and actually put on a performance! Give her some credit.

Vincent james
Carmen?? Carmen??? Come on! Chip Days sang rings around her every time.... Sorry but Carmen's voice was flat more often then not. That's my only beef with the Top 12 - should have been Chip.

What do you think of the 12 finalists?

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Originally posted Mar 06, 2003