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Did Clay Aiken know 'American Idol' winner in advance?


By Wade Paulsen, 05/23/2003 

Did he or didn't he?

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The New York Post reports that a mini-controversy has erupted over whether American Idol finalist Clay Aiken knew the results of the audience voting before it was announced during the show's finale Wednesday night. Idol's sharp-tongued judge Simon Cowell told tabloid TV viewers yesterday that Clay knew, five minutes beforehand, that the other finalist, Ruben Studdard, had defeated him. According to Simon, who appeared on "Good Day Live," Clay peeked over show host Ryan Seacrest's shoulder and read the cue card that had been handed to him with the results.

Later in the day, Clay himself appeared on a

cover


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different tabloid show, "Extra," and denied the report, saying that "they keep things so under wraps backstage, there is no way" that he could have seen anything.

So who is telling the truth? Certainly another gaffe by Ryan Seacrist wouldn't be a surprise, considering his mangling of the vote differential during the show. Or, is this just much ado about nothing, as Simon tries to justify his possible departure from the show, which he discussed at the end of the finale? We shall see.

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