Former 'American Idol' Singer Clay Aiken to Perform in Lakeland, Tuesday
Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
The Christmas Season is upon us, and for some people, a jumpstart is needed to get them into the spirit.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Clay Aiken: Joyful Noise Tour 2012
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
LOCATION: Polk Theatre, 121 S. Florida, Ave., Lakeland.
TICKETS: $42, $32, $22.
CONTACT: www.polktheatre.org or 863-682-7553.
For singer Clay Aiken, performing around the holidays has become something of a tradition to him and his fans. On Friday, Aiken begins his fifth Christmas music concert tour. Aiken said he's been able to work with people who have been there since his very first Christmas tour, and they tell him that it doesn't feel like Christmas unless they're doing the show.
"It kind of starts my season for me," Aiken said in a phone interview. "It gets me in the Christmas spirit and I don't really get into it the years I haven't done it. I don't feel like it's Christmas."
Clay Aiken will take center stage at the Polk Theatre Tuesday as his Joyful Noise Tour comes to Lakeland.
America was first introduced to Aiken during the second season of Fox's musical talent show "American Idol" in 2003. His powerful voice made him an instant favorite on the show and went on to finish first runner-up to Ruben Studdard.
Since "Idol," Aiken has gone on to release six albums, including a 2004 Christmas album "Clay Aiken: Merry Christmas With Love."
Aiken's performance will be a first for Polk Theatre — fan clubs. Leslie Sikora, president and CEO of the Polk Theatre, said they were asked to set aside tickets for Aiken's loyal fans. When tickets went on sale, Aiken's fans, also known as "Claymates," started buying tickets in force.
"I was just really surprised how many people called because I've never dealt with a fan club before, but he definitely has one," Sikora said.
Aiken's Lakeland concert is the fourth stop on a 20-city tour that goes from Friday until Dec. 21. This year's tour includes four Florida stops, the first time Aiken's tour has appeared in the state, with Lakeland being the last leg of his Florida swing.
In years past, Aiken's Christmas concerts have done everything from band accompaniments, to actors and dancers performing, and even snow. Aiken said this year's show will include a full orchestra performing with him and having the orchestra on stage adds to the holiday cheer.
"There's something about the French horn that says Christmas to me," Aiken said.
Earlier this year, Aiken stepped back in front of a camera as he was part of another reality TV show.
"I've gotten used to being in the public eye and that just perpetuated that a little bit, so maybe it wasn't the best choice for me to go on TV again," Aiken said laughing.
Aiken took part in the fifth season of "The Celebrity Apprentice," NBC's business-oriented reality competition hosted by Donald Trump. Aiken and 17 other contestants competed to raise money for various charities. Aiken managed to get to the finals, and finished second to comedian and former talk-show host Arsenio Hall.
"Our purpose behind doing (‘The Celebrity Apprentice') was to let me be seen in a different light," Aiken said. "I've spent 10 years being known as ‘the kid from "American Idol" that sings' and the goal was to try and let people at least think that I'm intelligent. I don't know if I was successful in that, but it was our hope."
Being part of two massive reality TV shows put Aiken in a small group. He said that he still keeps in contact with Studdard and the two speak about once a month.
Last month, Aiken did a fundraiser for his charity, The National Inclusion Project, in which Studdard and Hall performed and hosted.
"When you're with someone in such a controlled environment for as long as we were, you make friends and I guess some people make enemies. I've been fortunate enough that I haven't made too many enemies," Aiken said. "You make friends and they are in a very, very small fraternity with you, so you have a great deal in common."
As Aiken gears up for his new tour, he said these shows have always been about getting the people into the Christmas spirit. Aiken added that he hears about people who enter his shows not in the Christmas spirit, but leave in the mood for the holidays.
"That's kind of the benefit to having the show toward the beginning, like Lakeland does," Aiken said. "The Florida dates are so early that it's a great way to kick-start the holiday and hopefully people will see it that way."
Matt Reinstetle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-7533. Follow Matt on Twitter @LedgerMatt.
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