With several platinum records to his credit, Clay Aiken is the most prosperous loser in the history of American Idol. On the show’s 2003 finale, Aiken, a former North Carolina choirboy, came in second place to Ruben Studdard — a decision surprising many Idol fanatics (and so-called “Claymates”) and even prompted rumors of voting fraud. Less than a month later, Aiken vindicated himself with the release of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”/ “This Is The Night” which debuted at Number One, and became the best-selling single of the year — and he was just getting started.
His first album, Measure of A Man (Number One, Top 200), followed a few months later and sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week. Produced with the aid of more than 30 songwriters, Man is absolutely risk-free with singles like “Invisible” (Number 37), “The Way,” “I Will Carry You” (Number 25, Adult Contemporary) and the Neil Sedaka cover “Solitaire.”
In 2004, Aiken toured with fellow Idol star Kelly Clarkson, and released Merry Christmas With Love (Number One, Top 200), a seasonal collection that would spur…