American Idol 2 runner-up and double-platinum recording artist Clay Aiken will perform on PBS's live-from-Washington D.C. Fourth of July broadcast, according to the Associated Press.

Although the D.C. music-and-fireworks extravaganza is generally considered second-best in the U.S. behind the Boston Pops show, which airs on CBS and included an Idol-like talent search this year, Clay doesn't feel that he has once again been relegated to second place. "It's just a cooler opportunity to be in Washington, D.C., for the holiday, with a big 110-piece orchestra," he said, also noting that about half a million people are expected to attend (though that is still about 20% less than the usual Boston crowd).

Clay will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner," "God Bless the U.S.A." (a gold record for the Idol 2 finalists, including Clay), and the title track to his 2.6-million-selling Measure of a Man CD. Other performers include the Bee Gees and Vince Gill and Amy Grant.

This July 4th will be even more special for Clay, since his 18-year-old brother Brett just enlisted in the Marine Corps and his stepfather, an Air Force veteran, died two years ago on the holiday. He said, "It gives a little more meaning to [the Fourth] this year."

After July 4, Clay will head for North Dakota to kick off a 12-state summer tour. Although Clay realizes that part of the reason that he has been able to connect with the audiences that will turn out for this tour is Idol, he is also eager to put the tag "American Idol 2 runner-up" behind him. He told the AP that he wanted to "stand alone without the need to have "American Idol" tacked on."

We simply would like to point out to Clay that when we can't attach the tag "American Idol" to him, we won't be able to write about him any more for Reality TV World. Maybe that's what he really wants....