Clay Aiken on Christmas, American Idol, and Donald Trump
At one point during our early morning interview, singer and performer Clay Aiken yawned.
Clay Aiken is scheduled to perform at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, on Thursday, December 20.
It was a deep, expressive yawn. He did not ask to be excused, but he didn't need to: Aiken is among the most affable, pleasant, and charming interviews I've ever enjoyed. Plus, the guy has every reason to be worn out. The former "American Idol" has been making his way across the nation on his "Joyful Noise 2012" tour, belting out selections and standards from his Christmas recordings, Merry Christmas with Love and All Is Well: Songs for Christmas. It's a lot of work, and Aiken notes: "This is my fifth year doing it, and if we count all the times that I've done this show you're up into the hundreds, you know?"
With his upcoming tour stop at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler approaching, Aiken took some time to discuss Christmas music, 30 Rock, Donald Trump (Aiken competed on Celebrity Apprentice this year), and the season a "big black guy from Alabama and a skinny gay weirdo from North Carolina" wooed America on American Idol.
Up on the Sun: You started this tour in the 23rd of November, correct?
Clay Aiken: If you say so! You probably know better than I do. [Laughs]
So at this point, are you sick of Christmas music yet?
You know, for some reason, I don't get sick of this tour. If you asked me on other tours, I'd still say the same thing, but I'd probably be lying. [Laughs] With this one, I don't tend to get that tired. Forget the 23rd -- This is my fifth year doing it, and if we count all the times that I've done this show you're up into the hundreds, you know?
So you generally enjoy Christmas music. You'd have to.
There's something about Christmas music that puts people in a better mood. I had a friend when I was in high school that insisted that she kept a Christmas CD in her car and whenever she'd get stopped by a cop, she'd put it in. Whether it was June or July or whatever, she'd throw in the Christmas CD and get out of the ticket every time. I guess there's something about Christmas music that puts people in a better mood.
What are some of your favorite Christmas albums?
You know, I don't listen to many Christmas records when I'm touring. I am so inundated with my own stuff, we run the entire show one time in the afternoon, and then we do it again at night. But in the off years, the years that I haven't done it: Michael Buble's Christmas album, I think it's really great, Josh Groban had a really good one a few years ago. The ones that everyone else loves, I think. Those are the ones I like the most. Mariah Carey's Christmas album, which should go in some American time capsule, I'm sure.
Do you listen to music on the bus to wind down after shows?
I haven't listened to a thing lately. When I'm on tour, we're on a bus, and we don't listen to the radio. We put the TV on. We put reruns of The Closer on or something. I would be the worst person to ask about current musical trends.
You appeared on 30 Rock, one of my favorite shows of all time. Before you were approached about a guest spot, were you a fan?
Oh God, yeah. I love 30 Rock. That's one of the few things I insist on staying up to date on when I'm on the road. I make sure I get the latest episode. I like the fact that they're wrapping up each character up. A lot of shows end and you don't know where that character is going. But you know Liz is going to be married, and Jenna's going to try to be. I just want to know who this "Jacob" Kenneth keeps yelling at is. He's been yelling at "Jacob" for years. I want to know Kenneth's deal. [Note: Up on the Sun has it on good authority that this is a Lost reference.]
The "Kidney Now" musical number your participated in on the show was a pretty good song.
They totally should have sent that to radio.
You were also on Celebrity Apprentice this year. Is Donald Trump as crazy in person as he is online?
You know, I have to say: He was a very gracious host to us. He treated everyone with respect, and he does not get pleasure in firing people, I know that. He was a very nice guy, and before I went on the show, I didn't pay too much attention to the stuff he was doing in the press. When I was on the show, I gained this really great respect for him. When I got off the show, I would come home and see things with him on the news, and I'd think to myself, "God, I wish he would just shut up." He's like that uncle you love, but he does stupid things and you just wish he'd stop doing them because you know that's not really a great representation of him. That's kinda how I feel.
I have to imagine he's playing up his image in the media. I refuse to believe anyone could be so...
Well, I don't know how much he's playing. [Laughs] But he was a nice guy when I was around him.