Here are Clay Aiken's odds for winning ''Idol''
Every generation needs a redheaded pop star. In the '70s, it was Danny Partridge. In the '80s, Rick Astley. The '90s? Ginger Spice. Now we've got 24-year-old Clay Aiken. Beneath the Peppermint Patty complexion and aw-shucks exterior are the powerhouse pipes that rivaled Steve Perry's with a rendition of ''Open Arms'' and put to shame the cartoon mouse who crooned the ballad ''Somewhere Out There.'' Sure, the ''AI'' beauty squad pulled a miraculous geek-to-chic makeover on the North Carolina native (the Seacrest-style choppy haircut, the copious layers of bronzer), but there was no need to change his personality: Clay is the ultimate crush for fifth-grade girls. The guy is exactly the kind of compassionate (he's a special-needs counselor, for crying out loud), ambiguously sexual sweetheart that someone like, say, Lisa Simpson might sigh over while reading her latest copy of Non-Threatening Boys magazine. Sure, Ru's a shoo-in with the over-18 set, but who's doing the text messaging around here? The same ones who buy Olsen twins albums.
LOWDOWN To paraphrase a ginger-haired predecessor: Clay, I'm never gonna give (never gonna give!), give you up.