Rumors have been swirling over the past several weeks that Clay Aiken is considering a run for Congress. Now the season 2 runner-up is making it official. Also in today’s Roundup, a contestant who auditioned for Idol this year but left without a golden ticket was invited to be a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. And Casey Abrams has debuted a new song — the song title is the same as a certain TBS comedy starring Courteney Cox.
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Clay Aiken Running for Congress
American Idol alumni have dabbled in politics before, whether as political activists, endorsing candidates, performing at national conventions, etc. But no one has ever ran for office before — until now. Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken announced Wednesday that he is running for Congress, in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district. This seat is current held by Republican Renee Ellmers.
Clay posted a YouTube video announcing his candidacy. He starts off by telling a somber story of how his mother left her abusive and alcoholic husband to start fresh, when Clay was just a baby. “So much of who I am was shaped in those early years. And it’s part of why I decided to run for Congress.” Centering the video around a story like this is a great way for voters to relate to him.
He goes on to say, “More folks are struggling today than at any time in our history. And here in North Carolina, we’ve suffered more than our share of pain.” Clay recounts working as a special education teacher and as an ambassador to UNICEF.
If Clay makes it to the general election in the fall (the primary is on May 6), he’ll likely be running against incumbent Rep. Ellmers, who he says “went to Washington with good intentions.” He brings up the fact that “she knew that voting for massive cuts to the military was bad for our country and our district, [but] she voted for them anyway — 10 times — after her party leaders told her to.” Clay goes on to discuss the government shutdown, and continues to share how Ellmers’ record has hurt military families around the country and in their district.
He finishes by saying, “I’m not a politician. I don’t ever want to be one. But I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not. … This is what I am running for Congress.”
It won’t be easy for Clay to win this Congressional seat. Ellmers is in her second term and won her previous election in 2012 by a 14-point margin. And not only that, but gerrymandering (where district boundaries are changed to make it harder for the opposing political party to win) will no doubt help Ellmers. Some worry that Clay won’t be taken seriously.
Rep. Ellmers recently said in a WMAL radio interview that Clay’s probably running for Congress because “his performing career is not going so well. He’s very bored.” She went on to mention that he’s a two-time runner-up (both on American Idol and The Celebrity Apprentice). That last part is interesting to bring up. If he ends up coming in second place in this race, then it would seem that Clay has his own curse where he’s always a runner-up but never a winner. Can he break the trend this time? Maybe the third time’s the charm.
Rejected Idol Contestant Jessica Bassett Visits Ellen
Some viewers were disappointed when the judges, specifically Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban, gave ‘no’ votes to auditioner Jessica Bassett in Salt Lake City. One of those viewers who disagreed with the decision was Ellen DeGeneres. She tweeted out, “Portia and I are watching #AmericanIdol. We think not sending Jessica Bassett to Hollywood was a big mistake. Who’s with me?”
Ellen invited the singer to be a guest on her talk show this week. Besides talking with Ellen for a few minutes, Jessica also performed her original song called “Lydia,” which you can watch below:
I just re-watched her audition, and I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember her, though I do remember Harry asking Jennifer if they let a good one slip away. But seeing her sing on Ellen, she does have a pleasant voice. Ellen made an announcement after the performance: Jessica’s song will be available to download on both iTunes and the Beats Music app.
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Casey Abrams Performs New Song “Cougar Town”
No, Casey Abrams is not providing a new theme song for the TBS comedy Cougar Town. But he has debuted a new song of the same name. Before performing, the season 10 finalist said, “I’ve written songs about relationships I shouldn’t have been in. I’ve written songs about cheating on chicks. But I wrote a song about my favorite type of woman.” You can probably tell where this is heading based on the song title. It’s quite humorous at times, actually.
(Image courtesy of WENN)