The hit singing competition show, American Idol, has produced many successful musical talents. The publicity generated from being involved with American Idol works wonders for stars, no matter which career route they choose to take. This has been proven true recently by Clay Aiken, who was the hit show’s second season’s runner-up. Aiken has made numerous accomplishments in his personal life since taking second-place on American Idol in 2003. Though, the Idol star has been out of the lime-light until his recent run for congress, which pits the singer against Keith Crisco, a textile entrepreneur, Aiken’s humble vision has seen him through to this point in his life.
Since America was introduced to Aiken in 2003, many changes have occurred in the star’s life. Aiken was quoted that he believes fame should be used in the most positive way possible, and he personally wants to inspire people to think and act in ways that make the world a better place. Aiken mentioned he wants to be known as a generous, selfless person, and has proven that he prefers to live his life accordingly. Before America was introduced to him, Aiken studied special education and helped children with disabilities, such as autism. Of course, just like any celebrity, the entirety of Aiken’s existence in fame has not been positive.
A tweet surfaced, which Aiken deleted shortly after creating it. However, it was saved in a screen shot that went public after its deletion. It stated that Aiken and his brother were participating in a drinking game while watching the Republican National Convention. Aiken and his brother would drink every time they saw a black person at the convention and hashtagged the post #soberasamormon because none were to be found. Many deemed this tweet as racist and insensitive. The tweet surfaced again around the time Aiken decided to run for congress. The alleged racism did not cause the Idol runner-up to fall short, as Aiken was winning by over 300 votes when his congressional running opponent, Crisco, suddenly passed away from a fatal fall in his own home.
Aiken’s reaction and behavior since his opponent’s passing has overshadowed any negative social media publicity. The star’s personal website, clayaiken.com, has a message stating that Aiken is suspending all campaign activities to mourn his opponent’s passing. Aiken values life and good people, and he has stated that Crisco was a very good man and outstanding public servant. The Idol star’s life before fame was not privileged. On the contrary, it was very difficult and often poverty-stricken. His mother worked very hard to keep herself and her son safe from his alcoholic, abusive father and to give her son all she possibly could so he could have a successful life. While running for congress, Aiken mentioned his under-privileged childhood and his work with autistic kids. He believes that changing all of the bad in the world will take everyone working together, including Democrats and Republicans.
The star’s hope rests in fighting for what he believes in and helping as many people as he can. Aiken is a self-proclaimed non-politician and he never intends to be one. He wants to ignite change for the better, not take away services or necessities from the public, and he wants to represent all of the people. Aiken has an obvious soft-spot for underdogs and plans on fighting the good fight for as long as he can. Much more is to be learned about the Idol star turned congressman, as Aiken is a voice for all people, young and old, privileged or not.
Opinion by Courtney Heitter