Clay Aiken on His Joyful Noise Tour: "I Have a Thing for Christmas"

It's hard to escape the long shadow of American Idol.

Thus far, only Kelly Clarkson has truly satisfied the long-running vocal contest's basic premise of introducing the American public to a bonafide pop star. Adam Lambert was close. But unless someone leaks a NSFW video of the flamboyant runner-up on the shows 8th season, his relevancy is shrinking exponentially.

One might imagine Clay Aiken has had an especially hard time post-Idol, considering he lost to Ruben Studdard. And, to be frank, who the fuck is Ruben Studdard?

Lucky for Aiken, he stumbled upon a passion that rivaled the one he has for music. The cherubic southern gentleman is absolutely obsessed with Christmas. This Friday, he kicks off his Joyful Noise tour in West Palm Beach. We hit him up to learn more about his love of the allegedly most wonderful time of the year.

New Times: Were you ever in any Christmas pageants growing up?

Clay Aiken: A show or two in high school. Strangely enough the Christmas show that they do at the community theater in Raleigh is Cinderella. It's not really a different story, but it's part of the Christmas tradition. I don't understand it, but I was in it.

What did you play in the Christmas version of Cinderella?

I was just a townsfolk. I never got any good parts.

What is your set like on this tour?

Its culled off the two Christmas CDs we've done. It's original and traditional music. There are a few that are more contemporary. I sprinkle in a few new ones each year. I try to keep it original and fresh.

Would you ever put out an album for a different holiday?

We talked in the past about doing something. My third album was intended to be a Valentine's Day album, and then it got pushed back. But I dont know that there's another holiday that I would be equipped to do an album for. We've talked about doing another Christmas album.

How are you celebrating this year?

I'll be on the road. This is my tradition. It doesnt feel like the holidays if I'm not doing the show. I took a year off to do Broadway. It was great, but it killed the Christmas tour. It's my first time back since 2007. I'm excited.

Every year, I've had trees in the house and decorated the yard, but it didn't feel like Christmas. This year I havent even put anything up. I haven't even put red candles out. And it already feels more like the holidays for me. My Christmas starts on Friday in West Palm, and I get a full month of it.

You get a lot of mileage out of Christmas. Do you consider yourself a "Christmas artist?"

My manager would kiss you on the mouth if he heard that. We talked about that in the past. It's sort of my wheelhouse. I have a thing for Christmas. It fits me well. I'd be happy as hell if I could do this every single year and nothing else.

Clay Aiken's Joyful Noise tour 8 p.m. on Nov.23 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $25. Visit Kravis.org

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