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Clay Aiken judges ‘Top Models’ on acting

Performer Clay Aiken says he thinks his “American Idol” experience helped contestants appreciate his comments when he was a judge in an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” due to be aired Wednesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Performer Clay Aiken says he thinks his “American Idol” experience helped contestants appreciate his comments when he was a judge in an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” due to be aired Wednesday.

“It was interesting to be on the other side of the table and think of all these things that I went through in 2003,” Aiken told The Associated Press in a phone interview, referring to the year he finished second to Ruben Studdard during the second season of Fox’s hit reality show.

“I think the girls kind of appreciated that, the fact that I had been in a similar position,” Aiken, 30, said in the Friday interview. “I was going to be a judge, yes, but be a judge who understood a little bit about what they’re going through.”

Aiken’s stint as a judge and opposite the contestants in an acting scene airs Wednesday night on the CW Network. He said he was selected to judge acting because of his time in “Monty Python’s Spamalot” on Broadway and because the competition focused on stage acting.

It also didn’t hurt that the show’s host and creator, Tyra Banks, has been a friend since Aiken appeared on her talk show in 2006.

Aiken appears with the contestants in a quick scene designed “to show their ability to act in a large and comedic way,” he said. “A lot of the struggle for these contestants is to be able to come out of their shells.”

He doesn’t know who won the season, although he does know who gets voted off Wednesday. One clue is that the women who stay are “the people who are willing to be themselves and not worry,” he said.

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Aiken, who was famously remade during his time on “Idol,” said he was out of his element for the fashion part of “ANTM.” “I’m wearing a UNICEF T-shirt and University of Tennessee pajama pants,” he said. “I can’t judge that.”

Except for a temporary gig in New York while performing on Broadway, Aiken has lived in Raleigh for the past three years. Right after “Idol” ended, he lived in Los Angeles, but was unhappy there.

Aiken demurred from answering any questions about his son, Parker Foster Aiken, who was born in August to his friend, Jaymes Foster, and was conceived by in-vitro fertilization. Her brother, music producer David Foster, told AP Radio last week that Aiken is a “spectacular father” and Jaymes is “a natural mother.”

Aiken’s recording contract with RCA has ended, and he said he’s considering other labels, while also looking at stage and television offers.

“All three look enticing, and I’m in the luxurious position of letting them sit down and come to me,” he said.