"I feel like Idol is a drug of some kind," Aiken told People magazine in an interview published Tuesday. "Like you think you can't live without it until you finally do, and then you realize, 'You know what? Life is fine without this show. I'm gonna be okay.' Not that I've done drugs!"
Kicking the habit can be tough, especially when you've been riding the Idol high for as many years as Aiken.
"[Idol 6] is the first year I haven't watched it... Not one time. And I've done it on purpose. [I] just don't want to. Too much stress for me. I don't know, I just always get stressed out when I watch it," Aiken told People, explaining that once he gets a taste for it he simply craves more. "I realized if I watched the first [episode], I'd probably not sleep until the next week and I watched the second one. And I just like not having that chain in my life that I'm tied down to watching it every week."
Since he was the runner-up on Idol's second season, Aiken has been busy with his music career, so it's a bit surprising he's had any time to watch previous seasons of the Fox mega-hit that made him a household name. He's released three albums with the most recent, "A Thousand Different Ways," being released last September. Howevver ten of his most recent album's 14 tracks were cover songs, making Aiken eager to return to the studio following a tour this summer.
"We're actually looking into making another album pretty soon," he told People. "This time we're going to do something more creative. And so I'm excited about that, 'cause I'm looking forward to having a little more free reign than I've had in the past. Each time I've done an album, I've had a little more creative control over what happens."
In addition to the millions of Americans who voted for him during his time on Idol in the spring of 2003, Aiken attributed his success to God and aims to give back through various philanthropic efforts. He was recently at the Champions of Change gala held in his hometown of Raleigh, NC to benefit his Bubel/Aiken Foundation for children with disabilities.
"Find something that you are passionate about that gives back to your community," Aiken told People. "I think there's a misconception that really upsets me when people say, 'If you're in the public eye you have an obligation to let me know when you're getting married, who you're getting married to and who you're dating.' That's bull. But you do have an obligation to be a role model. From the beginning, I realize I got this only because God wanted me to be here. I think anybody who has any microphone to use who doesn't use it for the benefit of those around him is remiss."