Pop Culture

Clay Aiken rips ‘Idol’ and ‘contrived’ Adam

“American Idol” alum Clay Aiken is apparently no fan of this season’s runner-up, Adam Lambert, or the current state of the FOX reality competition.

The singer slammed “Idol” and the rocker on the subscription-only message board of his Web site on Thursday.

According to Gawker, who posted a screen shot of Aiken’s blog post — which he charges fans $29.95 annually to access — the singer said he’s happy about how the competition ended.

“Now that it’s all over, and for the record ... I couldn’t be happier about the way AI ended this year. I only turn the show on once a season, and only to see what the set looks like each year,” Aiken wrote. “This year, I happened to turn it during the minute that Adam Lambert was singing ‘Ring of Fire’ and, at that moment, thought my ears would bleed. Contrived, awful, and slightly frightening!”

Aiken goes on to admit that he’d only seen one of Lambert’s performances and none of eventual winner Kris Allen.

“I wasn’t really a fan and found myself surprised whenever folks told me that they liked him. Granted, I never saw another performance (and many folks who I trust said that he was great) but I can’t imagine I would have enjoyed it. Just not my cup of tea at all,” he continued in his blog post. “I never saw Kris sing on the show, but whether he was good or not is really relative. It’s usually a matter of taste, right? But Idol is not always a matter of musical taste only. It’s about the person you like. From what little I saw, Kris seemed likable. (That’s not to say that Adam isn’t just as likable as anyone ... maybe more so ... I don’t know).”

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    Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

    Image: 2009 American Music Awards Press Conference

    The many looks of Adam Lambert

    From motorcycle jackets to snazzy suits, the “American Idol” runner-up knew how to dress for each song.

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    Vested interest

    Adam Lambert, right, joins Snoop Dogg and Paula Abdul at the 2009 American Music Awards news conference held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009.

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  • American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Performance

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    Finding the 'Boundaries'

    Adam Lambert performs "No Boundaries," an original song written by judge Kara DioGuardi, on Tuesday, May 19, his final performance of season 8 of "American Idol."

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  • American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Performance

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    Making a 'Change'

    Adam Lambert performed "A Change Is Gonna Come," a song selected by "Idol" producer Simon Fuller, as his second song on Tuesday, May 19. “That was the best I’ve ever heard you sing! Ever, ever, ever!" cooed Paula Abdul of Lambert's performance.

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    A 'Phantom' performance?

    Adam Lambert reprised his version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" during the final sing on Tuesday, May 19. Simon Cowell questioned his attire and said he thought the performance as a bit too much like "Phantom of the Opera."

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    Big time

    Adam Lambert made it into the final two on "American Idol" by singing two songs by enormous rock bands -- U2's "One" and Aerosmith's "Cryin'." Judge Simon Cowell bragged that U2 leader Bono called him personally to OK the use of "One."

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    Name-dropping

    Judge Simon Cowell bragged that U2 leader Bono called him personally to OK Lambert's use of "One."

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    O say can you see

    Lambert, a San Diego native, returned to his hometown as part of the "Idol" final three hometown visits. While there, he made a trip to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and sang the national anthem for service members and their families.

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    Rock this town

    Lambert was in his element on rock night, tearing into Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Said an appreciative Randy Jackson, "you are a rock star tonight!"

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    Classing it up for Rat Pack night

    Would Sinatra perform in anything but a suit? Lambert dressed up, but still kept his own personal style, on Rat Pack night. There's now a cat figurine wearing a white suit for sale on eBay imitating Lambert's outfit from this night.

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    Does caffeine calm backstage jitters?

    Lambert is seen backstage before elimination night on the week that Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai were sent home. Note the Coke machine in the background -- Coke, of course, is a major "Idol" sponsor.

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    Suiting up

    Maybe this should have been the night for the white suit? Lambert went formal for disco night, where he sang his own version of "If I Can't Have You" from "Saturday Night Fever."

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    Get your motor running

    On movie-song night, Lambert pulled out the motorcycle jacket and blue jeans and sang "Born to Be Wild" from "Easy Rider." Said Paula Abdul, "you dare to dance in the path of greatness."

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    The song so many missed

    When the Idols performed songs from the years they were born, Lambert chose 1982's "Mad World." Even Gary Jules, who arranged the version Lambert performed, said "it was fantastic." Jules covered the Tears for Fears song in a stripped-down, slow version in 2001 and the tune became popular after it was used in the movie "Donnie Darko" that same year. Unfortunately, Lambert performed last on a night that "American Idol" ran eight minutes over schedule and many fans who recorded the show missed Lambert's song.

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    Lay down the boogie

    When Lambert performed Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music," Paula Abdul compared him to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler.

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  • American Idol Season 8 Top 10 Performance

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    Emerging as a star

    Lambert's performance of "Tracks of My Tears" drew a standing ovation from Kara DioGuardi. Paula Abdul liked his appearance, too. "I love the clean look," she said. "No nail polish tonight!"

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  • American Idol Season 8 Top 11 Performance

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    Middle Eastern music meets Johnny Cash

    Lambert was rarely criticized all season, but on country night, he performed Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and added a Middle Eastern flavor, complete with sitar sounds. Randy Jackson thought it was "current," but Simon Cowell found it "absolute indulgent rubbish."

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    Taking on the King of Pop

    On Michael Jackson night, Lambert tackled "Black or White," and earned raves. "I hope Michael Jackson is watching," said Kara DioGuardi.

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    Fans got 'Satisfaction'

    Early on in the competition, Lambert tackled the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." Simon Cowell thought some parts of the performance were "excruciating" and others "brilliant," but Lambert was on his way.

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    You've got the look

    From the beginning, Lambert attracted fans, with some claiming he reminded them of vampire hearthrob Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" books and movies.

    Fox via AP / Fox via AP

Aiken goes on to slam the “Idol” judges for labeling Lambert as the frontrunner, writing, “Not even having watched the show, I can tell you that I was WELL aware of the bias from the judges as to who should win. In my opinion, that is awfully unattractive. I don’t think I am alone.”

The “Measure Of A Man” singer then explained how he believes the show has changed since he stood in the season two finals with Ruben Studdard.

“The show was different then, and folks made it in seasons 1-3 because they were ‘real’ people who happened to sing/entertain well. But, somewhere along the way, AI stopped being about real people,” Aiken wrote.

Aiken also explained why he thinks Allen beat Lambert for the title.

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    ‘American Idol’ alums

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    M-I-C, K-E-Y, I-D-O-L

    All seven winners of "American Idol" gather around Mickey Mouse for the opening of The American Idol Experience at Florida's Walt Disney World Resort in 2009. Clockwise, from front left, they are: Taylor Hicks, Fantasia Barrino, Kelly Clarkson, Mickey Mouse, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks and David Cook. The American Idol Experience attraction, inspired by the hit TV show, lets Disney park guests audition with a chance to appear onstage, or vote on their favorite singing performances from the audience.

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    She started it all

    Kelly Clarkson won the first season of "American Idol" in 2002, and has sold more than 20 million records worldwide since then. As of April 2009, she is the highest-selling "Idol" winner. She's also appeared on numerous television shows, including "Saturday Night Live," "One Tree Hill," Smallville" and "Six Feet Under."

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    First season, first runner-up

    Justin Guarini was the runner-up on "American Idol's" first-ever season, losing the title to Kelly Clarkson. The two later co-starred in an embarrassing, and badly reviewed, comedy film, "From Justin to Kelly." The film won the Golden Raspberry Award in 2005, noting that it was the worst musical of the first 25 years of the infamous "Razzies" film awards. Guarini has released several albums, but musically, has all but dropped off the radar of most "Idol" music fans.

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    Maybe you've seen me on TV

    Kimberly Caldwell finished in seventh place on the second season of "American Idol," but turned her loss into an entertainment career. She has worked as a correspondent for an extreme sports program and as a host for TV Guide Network. For a time, Caldwell dated season-seven "Idol" winner David Cook. They reportedly broke up in early 2009. Before the breakup, Cook had to publicly debunk a Star magazine report that he purchased a $54,000 diamond engagement ring for Caldwell.

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    The big man

    Ruben Studdard won the second season of "American Idol," and since then has released multiple albums and received a Grammy Award nomination. While on the show, he was dubbed "The Velvet Teddy Bear" for his rich, soulful voice. Studdard was also noted for wearing shirts reading "205," the area code of his hometown, Birmingham, Ala. He has repeatedly struggled with his weight.

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  • Clay Aiken

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    Clay by Clay

    Clay Aiken, seen here in his role as Sir Robin in the Broadway production of Monty Python's "Spamalot," had some of the most ardent fans of any "American Idol" alum. Aiken came in second to Ruben Studdard on the show's second season, but his fans, known as Claymates, were incredibly supportive and loyal even after the ouster. Although his sexuality was speculated upon in the press for years, Aiken would not comment on it until 2008, when he confirmed he was gay to People magazine. He has a son, Parker Foster Aiken, whose mother is Jaymes Foster, who has been the executive producer of three of Aiken's albums.

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    Fame, fortune and tragedy

    Jennifer Hudson didn't win the third season of "American Idol," but she has gone on to have one of the most successful careers of any "Idol" alum. Sadly, her life has also been touched by tragedy. After "Idol," Hudson went on to star in the movie "Dreamgirls," for which she won the Academy Award for best supporting actress. She has also won a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and numerous other honors. But in 2008, her mother, brother and young nephew were murdered, sending the singer into temporary seclusion. The estranged husband of Hudson's sister has been charged with the crimes.

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    An 'Idol' and a mom

    Fantasia Barrino, who often just goes by Fantasia, won the third season of "American Idol." She was the first single parent to win the show's top title, and some fans were concerned that her young parenthood was setting a bad example for viewers. She was just 16 when she became pregnant and 17 when she gave birth to her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino. She has said she broke up with the girl's father because he was physically abusive. After "Idol," she earned raves for her Broadway performance as Celie in the musical "The Color Purple."

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    Taking the stage

    Constantine Maroulis is seen here performing in the Broadway musical, "Rock of Ages," a show packed with 1980s hair-band hits. Maroulis finished in sixth place on "American Idol's" fourth season, and has found plenty of musical and dramatic opportunities since then. In the fall of 2005, it was announced that he would star in "Brooklyn," a sitcom loosely based on his life growing up in a Greek-American New York family, but ABC eventually passed on the project.

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    Hot lava

    Carrie Underwood, seen during the 2009 Academy Of Country Music Awards in a gown she said reminded her of lava, is the winner of "American Idol's" fourth season. By far one of, if not the most, successful "Idol" alums, Underwood has won multiple Grammy Awards and is a multi-platinum selling artist. Her hits include "Before He Cheats," "Last Name" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel." She became only the seventh woman to win the Acadamy of Country Music Awards prestigious Entertainer of the Year honor in April 2009.

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    Pass the sall-mon

    Kellie Pickler endeared herself to many fans of "American Idol's" fifth season with her country twang and ways, once mispronouncing "salmon" as "sall-mon." She also earned praise for surviving a tough childhood. Her father served time in prison for aggravated assault and battery, and was released just a week after his daughter's elimination on "Idol."

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    Fourth place doesn't feel so bad

    Chris Daughtry's fifth-season elimination is one of the most controversial in the history of "American Idol." He was the fourth-place finalist, and when he was voted off, many fans were shocked and refused to believe the votes were fairly counted. The elimination didn't hurt Daughtry much, however. His band's debut album sold more than a million copies after just five weeks, becoming the fastest-selling debut rock album in history.

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    Many shades of gray

    Taylor Hicks earned plenty of attention for his prematurely gray hair, but he was only 29 when he won the fifth season of "American Idol." Later that year, he was also named People Magazine's Hottest Bachelor. His fans are known as the Soul Patrol, and Hicks would frequently call out the group's name during "Idol" episodes. He reportedly received $750,000 for a memoir of his life, released by Random House in 2007.

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    The winner who should have been

    Melinda Doolittle finished third behind Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis on the sixth season of "American Idol." Two days after that show's season finale, judge Simon Cowell appeared on "Good Morning America" and said that the title should rightfully have gone to Doolittle. Since then, in addition to releasing music, Doolittle has sought out charity work. She is a supporter of the Malaria No More campaign, which distributes life-saving bed nets to protect African children from being infected by malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

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    Hair today, gone tomorrow

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    Sparks still fly

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    Still cooking

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    Everything's Archie

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    She bangs, she bangs!

    Most "American Idol" wannabes have to at least make it on the show to earn their fame. Not so for William Hung, who became nationally known after an extremely off-key audition featuring the Ricky Martin song "She Bangs" on the show's third season. Hung's odd singing and dancing befuddled and entertained both the judges and the viewers, and his positive attitude seemed at odds with his performance. "I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all," Hung said to the judges. He was able to parlay the audition into a variety of entertainment opportunities, including appearances in commercials and films.

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“Those votes for Kris were also votes to return the show to its roots of finding ‘real’ contestants with undiscovered talent and giving them the chance to grow and shine. They were votes that said ‘we’re tired of seeing contestants who already seem to know it all,’” he wrote. “Will American Idol choose to listen to the resounding and clarion call that those voters gave them? ... ‘Enough with the pretention(sic). More Rubens, more Clays, more Fantasias and Tamyras and Kellys please.’ My faith has always been in the voters. I think they have gotten it right every year (mine included). It’s now up to American Idol to decide if it will finally REALLY listen to the folks that keep it on the air.”

Aiken’s blasting of “Idol” and Lambert comes after a Chicago Sun-Times report that he reached out to Lambert earlier this month about collaborating on a future project. Aiken reportedly showed up unannounced on the “Idol” set and was given the cold shoulder by the staff of the FOX reality competition. An “Idol” staff member told the Sun-Times that the show is not happy with Aiken for leaving 19 Entertainment, the show’s management company.

“To say the least, it was tense around here when Clay showed up,” the staffer told the paper. “And boy, did they hustle him off the premises as fast as possible. If he didn’t get the hint after that — he never will.’’

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