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‘Idol’ fans overwhelmingly favor Clay

Readers say season 2 runner-up likely to have lasting success
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“American Idol” fans have responded to our piece on which “Idol” contestant will have the best long-term success in music, and the overwhelming winner is — Clay Aiken. Clay has a very loyal and vocal fan base. But Fantasia, Kelly and the others have their supporters as well. Here are a few of the thousands of responses we got from our readers. Thank you all for your contributions.


Kelly and Clay are both phenomenal. I saw their concert and they’re each amazing in their own way. Clay has one of the absolute purest voices on earth. It’s God given, rich and flawless. Kelly can effortlessly belt to the heavens and has such a thick, rich tone. I love the quality of her voice. It’s so different from all of the other current pop stars, especially when she does the bluesy songs.— Toni Taubman, West Hills, Calif.

Clay Aiken is set to be the most successful! Justin Guarini — community theater!— Shawn, Silver Spring, Md.

I enjoy listening to Clay and to Kim. I will buy their CDs and watch their performances on TV. I’m sure Clay will be around a long time! He has many core fans who aren’t swayed by the latest fad in pop singers. and by the current “experts” in the music business.

Ruben sings well but he is steering his music to styles I don’t care to listen to. He may be around a long time but I am not in the audience that would be following him. He has the talent but I don’t think he has the work ethic that Clay has so he may ruin his health and get too lazy to promote himself.

The other competitors may be around if they can produce something attention getting. There has to be something that will make them stand out from all the other good singers out there.

Idol has given many of these great singers a chance to get attention. If they are lucky they will use this chance to jumpstart a career. They need to find their “gimmick” as well as good songs. — Annie Johnson, St. Louis

Clay Aiken is and will be the most successful. The music industry just doesn’t want to acknowledge that his fan base is the largest. His work (BAF), his book, his auctions — anything Clay is in great demand.

Tamyra Gray will succeed in community theater.— Josie Ung, Long Beach, Calif.

Most successful? It’s a toss up (so far) between Fantasia and Clay, I think. Kelly, Ruben, Diana ... they’re all going to be O.K., but Clay and Fantasia just have something extra that will keep them around.

Destined for community theater? Please put Justin and that irritating Ryan Starr out on the freeway doing a production of Death of a Salesman; The Musical.— Rodney, Atlanta

Kelly Clarkson will be most successful. This is undeniable. Why? You’re comparing all the Idols to Kelly in that article because she is above them all. Why aren’t you comparing them all to Clay, or Fantasia? Because they have yet to prove themselves. Kelly has superstar status.— Lauren Leone, Carbondale, Ill. guys totally missed the boat by not listing Ryan Starr. She’s definitely got the porno-queen look but is not super talented singing-wise. I think if she gave adult films a nod, she would give Frenchie a run for her money. Ryan’s film career could shoot through the roof. The only downside is that she appears to be an intolerable diva that can’t seem to get it through her head that she’s only a pop-culture remnant and not destined to be a big-time singer.— Garrett, Cumming, Ga.

Clay Aiken will be the most successful, over time. He’s the Barry Manilow of our generation; he’ll have career longevity.

Justin G will be lucky to have a life in the community theater. His voice ... ouch! He’s just another also-ran from the first season. I don’t see a career there.— Chris Kopsho, Spokane, Wash.

I think Fantasia will be successful for a very long time. She’s likeable, she’s spunky, she’s no pushover, and WOW she can sing. When Fantasia sings... you not only hear the music, but you feel it to. I think she’ll be around for very long time.— Jodi Henson, Oklahoma City

I think it will be Kimberley Locke. She is an outstanding singer, performer and person. She has a unique voice, and she is the most versatile out of all the other Idol competitors.— Zak, Rowlett, Texas

Clay has the most staying power. He seems to be a person who is respected by everyone he works and that goes a long way is the business. His voice and his success so far has greatly out distanced all the other Idols. The fact that McDonalds and Disney have sponsored his tours says a great deal about the respect he has garnered since he left "Idol". NBC has given him his own Christmas special with Barry Manilow so I guess that says it all!— Thnetta Hampton, Georgetown, SC

I think you overlook Josh Gracin. He has a nice start with his country album, selling quite well for a first timer. You don’t seem to understand or bother to know why Clay has the X factor. I don’t think it is a “cult following” you referred to as “Claymates.” It is just a bunch of people who really love good music and a nice young man.— Joan Lee, Maryland

Reuben is a good singer but, he is simply too fat, This guy has gained another 50 pounds. He is much too fat. He sweats all the time. I can’t stand to look at him because sweat just pores off of him. I believe he has about another year and he is history. Reuben is a great singer but he is totally disgusting to look at.— Adrian, San Jose, Calif.

I personally thought LaToya London was loaded with vocal talent. After she was voted off she said “you’ll see me again”. What is she doing?

I think most of the success or failures are a crap shoot for the winners and near-winners. You need good material to sing, be able to sing it with style, and appeal to the music-buying public. Tough job!— Jane Ardern

Tamyra Gray will be the most successful, eventually. She has been the least exposed & she has the greatest talent. She's easy on the eyes & she has a beautiful, sincere voice. (She’s in “Bombay Dreams” on Broadway now)— Shane, New York City

Clay Aiken by far — he simply has the best voice and adults like him, as well as teenagers and children. He appeals to a bigger audience! He is the American Dream!!!— Janet Berlin, New Lenox, Ill.

Clay Aiken epitomizes an American Idol and will eventually equal (or surpass) the accomplishments of Frank Sinatra, et al. I have no interest whatsoever in the others!— Dolores Sampson, Fond du Lac, Wis.

I disagree with your panel, who dismissed Diana DeGarmo so readily. First off, it is essentially an “urban myth” that LaToya London “deserved” to be in the top 2. She was boring and never connected to the audience. Don’t believe everything you hear. Second, what separates Diana from all the other teen singers is, duh, she can actually sing. She has a tremendous fan base, she gets more traffic on her forum at than just about any contestant other than Clay Aiken. Give the girl a break! What I have heard from her upcoming CD is incredible.— Caroline, Anchorage