‘American Idol’ favorite Clay Aiken announces run for Congress
From “American Idol” to Congress? Clay Aiken hopes so.
The former “Idol” runner-up has formally announced his run for Congress as a Democrat in his native North Carolina. (And yes, we are just as confused as you are.)
Aiken officially launched his campaign for the seat held by Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers on Wednesday, and he’s already issued a campaign video.
In the nearly five-minute video -- it’s on YouTube and is featured on his new campaign site -- the 35-year-old pop crooner stands in a modest living room, saying it’s the home of a family friend who took him and his mother in years ago.
“For most Americans, there are no golden tickets. At least not like the kind you see on TV,” Aiken says in the video, alluding to his “Idol” days. “More families are struggling today than at any time in our history. And here in North Carolina, we’ve suffered more than our share of pain.”
He then went on to slam Ellmers -- albeit as nicely as expected of a Southern gent -- for her votes on the government shutdown and her position on the military. He also acknowledged his success in the music industry and how it opened the door for his humanitarian work.
“The district where I’m running is represented by a congresswoman who I believe went to Washington with good intentions,” he said, sitting on a lone wooden chair. It’s a potent mix of campaign cheese and down-home realness -- but will it be enough to win the hearts of voters in North Carolina?
Americans were first introduced to Aiken back in 2003, when he tried out for Season 2 of “Idol.”
Beloved by moms everywhere for his angelic voice, inoffensive ballads, flat-ironed hair and a bounty of striped button-down shirts, Aiken made it all the way to the finale.
The singer came in second to R&B powerhouse Ruben Studdard (we watched them become BFFs during the competition), but proved that losing “Idol” could be just as lucrative. He has since released six albums, including a Christmas record, with all but one of them landing in the top 10. His last album, “Steadfast,” was released in 2012.
Aiken has also appeared on the hit competition “Celebrity Apprentice” and landed, ironically, in second place. He lost to talk show host Arsenio Hall.
To vote for Aiken, call 1-866-IDOLS -- Oops! Sorry, got a bit confused.
Watch Aiken’s campaign video below:
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.