Saturday, July 31st at 7:30 p.m. on WPBT2
– “American Idol” Alumnus Clay Aiken Sings His Favorite Songs From Earlier Eras; Linda Eder and Ruben Studdard Guest Star –
All it took was a few bars of an old Heatwave song and Clay Aiken was on his way.
“American Idol” viewers in January 2003 were taken by surprise when an unknown singer strode confidently into the audition room, announced to the judges that he was their choice and backed up that claim with an electrifying rendition of “Always and Forever,” which instantly caught the attention of millions watching at home. Many of them — like judge Randy Jackson — must have wondered, “Where is that voice coming from?”
After nine sold-out national tours, six million copies of his four chart-topping albums worldwide, numerous television appearances, a New York Times best-selling memoir, an auspicious Broadway debut in Monty Python’s Spamalot, extensive travels for UNICEF and the launch of his own successful foundation — The National Inclusion Project — Aiken brings his clarion voice, engaging personality and Southern charm in CLAY AIKEN: TRIED & TRUE – LIVE!, part of special programming airing in July 2010 on WPBT2. Special guests Linda Eder and Ruben Studdard join Aiken onstage.
Taped in Aiken’s hometown, Raleigh, North Carolina, before a wildly enthusiastic audience, Aiken brings his powerful vocals and uniquely personal interpretations to new arrangements of some of the most iconic songs ever written, including “Mack the Knife,” “It’s Impossible,” “Moon River,” “Misty,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Unchained Melody,” “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and a stellar duet with his special guest, Broadway star Linda Eder, on Roy Orbison’s classic lament, “Crying.”
Having grown up listening to this genre of music, Aiken says, “I wanted to do something that paid tribute to the Johnny Mathis, Perry Como and Andy Williams type of sound, because those artists sang really emotional material and did it wonderfully.” And there were the “tried and true” songs themselves, which Aiken finds “melodically appealing and beautiful.” He adds, “I’ve often joked with friends that I was born at the wrong time because the songs I like to sing are all from earlier eras. So performing this kind of music was an opportunity to just be myself.” Aiken’s new album, titled, appropriately, Tried & True, was released June 1.
Also appearing in the special is Aiken’s good friend and “American Idol” colleague Ruben Studdard. “To be able to share the stage with Ruben again is so exciting,” Aiken says. “He is such a talented artist.” In July, the two “American Idol” alumni will hit the road for their highly anticipated “Timeless Tour.”
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