Clay Aiken's hometown fans party the night away in Raleigh, NC
By Andrea Sellers, 10/13/2003
Greetings, Claymates! Reality TV World's on-the-spot correspondent Andrea Sellers here, reporting from where the magic started - Raleigh, North Carolina. With the release of Clay Aiken's "Measure of a Man" album just hours away, you may wonder if Clay's hometown is getting a litte excited about the event. Ha! Does Randy say "Dawg"?
The Clay-mania been building for days in Raleigh, with local radio stations offering CD giveaways to fanatical Claymates and playing Clay's songs on a regular basis. The local newspaper, the News & Observer, held a contest to determine Clay's #1 fan. The winner, a 47-year-old transcriptionist, described breaking the redial button on her phone while dialing 687 times, as well as the appearances she organized for her lifesize cutout of "Flat Clay". Her prize? The chance to interview her Idol. She managed to beat out the fan who counted Clay's chest hairs on his Rolling Stone cover (73, in case you're interested) and a high-schooler who writes songs and poetry about Clay.
During American Idol 2, loyal fans met every week at Raleighwood Cinema Grill, where they could hang out with Clay's mom, Faye Parker, as they munched on goodies and watched Clay on the big screen. From 8 pm until midnight, Claymates will be partying while enjoying clips from Clay's "AI2" appearances and tonight's appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno". There will be 1,000 CDs on hand so that these fans won't be left out at midnight, and there will be drawings for CDs and autographed items while they wait.
Where will Ma Aiken be? Over at Triangle Town Center. The mall's
party started at 5 pm, with Claymates showing up at the mall's center court to get the wristbands needed to hang around for the midnight shopping. Parker was on hand to sign autographs. Fans have been getting their hair styled with Clay , singing karaoke, and hoping to win a drawing for one of Clay's "Grease" shoes from "AI2". They'll get in line at 11 pm at either Sam Goody or Barnes & Noble while they wait for midnight. Don't worry about them missing Clay singing to Leno - there will be TVs set up for them while they wait. The mall's expecting about 3,000 Claymates to the "Official Clay Aiken CD Release Party".
And for Raleigh fans who already have other plans tonight? Well, they can go to The Record Exchange at 7am and purchase the CD on their way to work.
Well, that's it for me from the center of Claymania, hoping everyone is partying since "This Is the Night!"