All-Star, Not A-List

25 Jan

Who saw the season premiere of Modern Family on ABC?  When the beloved station wagon starts rolling empty toward the cliff while they watch helplessly?  The father jumps on the hood, starfish-style, in a desperate attempt to do something, anything.  And his wife stands by and yells, “What’s the plan, Phil?!”  Tell me NHL, what is the plan?

Clay Aiken will perform the US National Anthem on Sunday at the All-Star Game.  Stop laughing.

If I was invisible (Wait... I already am).

Clay is a native of Raleigh, a Canes fan and he has performed the National Anthem there before.  I can’t talk smack about Clay because the first thing I did when I heard this was open iTunes, click on “Invisible” (of course I have it) and belt it out.  It’s a great song with creepy lyrics.

But I do have to say something.  We’ve previously addressed the NHL’s tragically D-list celebrity appeal [here].  If only we were famous, we could class this joint up a little bit instead of marveling that the guy who played (Plays? Is it still on?) Lex Luthor on Smallville isn’t really bald after all.

But Clay Aiken?  NHL, WHAT IS YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC? Clay was on American Idol in 2003.  His last Top 40 hit was a Christmas song in ’05.  His current record cracked the charts for a single week in June.  Do you think Willa Ford was busy?

Clay’s new album and tour are called “Tried and True” – featuring all standards.  Admittedly, they sound great.  But Michael Buble is Canadian, couldn’t he sing the anthem?  Even his own? If only Westlife were American, they could have done it.

Aloow us to be Frank.

I’m sure Clay will kill it and hey, it’s only one song.  I just don’t see how this makes any sense for the NHL.  Maybe Aiken’s performance will turn a whole new middle-aged generation of Claymates into avid hockey fans.


32 Responses to “All-Star, Not A-List”

  1. Lisa January 25, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I vote YES on Michael Buble!!!

  2. Chuck January 25, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Uh, what about Carrie Underwood? or Hilary Duff? At least they related to the NHL by marriage.

    Pretty sure that Smallville is still on the air but Lex Luthor is not on any more (killed off, methinks). He’s very cute in person. Short, but cute.

    But then again…aren’t they all?

    We could totally class up the joint. We know people who know people. The NHL should hire us.

  3. Dawncherrie January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Seriously? This is not a joke? *SIGH* If HNIC gets cool Canadian bands to play their mash-up every Saturday night, why can’t The All-Star organization get a cool one to do the Anthem? And please Pants, Willa Ford? That’s just as bad. 😉 So if we’re going there, let’s offer the Canadian Band Tragically Hip – it’s at least ironic – heh?

  4. musicfan January 25, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    There are plenty of people who are fans of Clay Aiken. There are plenty of people who enjoyed seeing him when he starred on Broadway. There are plenty of people who are going to his tour that starts next month.

    Perhaps a better way of looking at this wonderful guy singing the National Anthem is that LOTS of people who usually don’t watch hockey will tune in to see and hear Clay.

    • Chuck January 25, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      musicfan – I wonder how many of Clay’s fans will keep on watching the game after he has performed…

      • musicfan January 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        Can’t speak for all the fans, but there is a group of us getting together to hear Clay and watch the game. I am sure my group is not alone. And, its not all women either…however, I doubt if there will ne any face/body painting going on!!

      • trina January 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

        I lot of that depends on how Clay is treated. Clay fans tend to support those who support Clay.

  5. kit January 25, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    The NHL made a wise choice in Clay Aiken. NOBODY sings the National Anthem as beautifully as Clay. He has an astonishing range and is a fine lyric interpreter. But best of all, he doesn’t change up our National song with flourishes of his own. He sings it like it’s meant to be sung. Also, he’s a home-town boy and has a humungus fan following. I see no harm in introducing the Claymates to Hockey. Do you?

  6. kate January 25, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    The NHL made a choice of having Clay sing the SSB and the 10 Tenor sing Oh Canada at this year’s all star game. Both will do great. (Actually heard Clay sing OC in Toronto and it was great,too)
    He’s an obvious choice, a Raleigh resident who is very supportive of the area, a hockey fan, and a singer who has lots of name recognition.

  7. Docb January 25, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    This is great! I’ve been a hockey fan for many years, since my long-ago Colgate U days, and a Clay fan for 8 years. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a match made in Heaven!

  8. pia-tims January 25, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    UNICEF is proud to have Clay Aiken represent them, why are many of the NHL fans not? He has traveled to areas of the world for UNICEF that even the toughest hockey fan would not go. He is a fan of hockey and has sung the National Anthem for the Hurricanes before. He supports Raleigh with all of his heart. He is proud to be from the Triangle.
    He has a great voice and sings the SBB as it should be sung. Here is where he sang at the World Series –
    Maybe this will rest your mind a bit.

  9. Pants January 25, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    You guys are great! Look at all these Clay fans! I hope you’re right and more people do tune in because of Clay – especially since it’s the All-Star Game, which is all just fun anyway. It could be a great intro into hockey for someone who’s never been interested before. He definitely has a very loyal fan base, and perhaps it’s more widespread than I imagined.

    I’m sure his performance will be stellar – the guy can certainly sing. Let’s hope everyone who watches the anthem watches the whole game. And every game after that.

    Christina Aguilera’s singing at the Super Bowl – she may have sold 50 million albums but her last one was a bust, so it’s not easy out there for anyone.

  10. Judy January 25, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Clay Aiken is the perfect choice to sing the National Anthem in Raleigh. A Raleigh native who loves his hometown, and his NHL team. Nothing wrong with that.

    Clay will do Raleigh proud….I sure hope Raleigh returns the favour.

  11. corinne January 25, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Raleigh is lucky to have Clay Aiken. He loves and supports his city has a wonderful vocal range and is a long-time hockey fan. NHL wanted him to represent America — not just Raleigh, and he is a great choice.

  12. Huh January 25, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Clay doesn’t aim for Top 40 radio. Your complaint that he hasn’t had a #1 single in years is ridiculous. Neither has Andrea Bocelli, Peter Cincotti, Ray Lamontagne or Paul McCartney. These are all fine musicians and singers and these are Clay’s peers.

  13. JustMe January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Let’s see if I can post without insulting all sides of this debate.

    I think that labeling Clay Aiken as a “D-List” celebrity is harsh and inaccurate. I would, however, agree that he is most certainly a “B-List” celebrity. But the thing is that Hockey is a “B-List” sport – hence the reason the All Star Game is on some relatively obscure cable channel rather than on NBC, CBS, ABC or even FOX, and the reason you get The Canadian Tenors and not Michael Buble singing the Canadian National Anthem and you get 3 Doors Down and not Lady Gaga for the first break.

    You also have a point about the NHL knowing their audience. Clay Aiken is a kind soul who donates his time and name to many charities. He has an amazing singing voice, a very quick wit and he’s extremely intelligent. He is very vocal about his love for his home town and his family. You are right, he does not fit the demographic of the stereotypical Neanderthal hockey fan.

    All of that being said, I have to applaud the NHL for making the choice that they did. They had to know there would be a firestorm over their choice, but I feel they got what they wanted – publicity. There are many people who did not even know the All Star game was this weekend who are now aware, including both Idol fans and Clay fans. Many of them will tune in – some to hear Clay sing, some waiting (and probably hoping) for the hockey fans to live up to their reputation and give Clay a less than polite homecoming. Clay Aiken will sing the hell out of the National Anthem and hopefully the crowd will respond accordingly.

    I’m not sure if I will be tuning in or not, we will see.

  14. JOJO January 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I am a Clay fan and I think he is a great choice to sing SSB in his hometown. He has a great voice.

  15. JOJO January 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    JustMe, I just read your post, bravo for stating what I was thinking.

  16. Jackie January 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    OH! look what I found, Clay Aiken singing at a Hurricanes’ game in Raleigh, NC.

    I’m Canadian, a fan of both Clay Aiken and hockey. Go Habs Go.

    • Jackie January 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

      Broken link, here’s the good one

      • musicfan January 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

        Real hockey fan

        That is one of the funniest comments I have read in a long time!! Do you feel better now??

  17. Hillary January 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Oh boy a REAL Hockey Fan. Just the person I’m looking for. How many innings in hockey? Is it touchdowns or home runs I need to look for?

  18. Jackie January 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Real hockey fan

    My 80 year old mother probably knows more about hockey than you do. Didn’t know there was actually an age restriction to be hockey fans.

    You wouldn’t by any chance be a tad bit homophobic? Are you sure you are old enough to be posting on the internet?

  19. Pants January 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Okay, I’m pulling editorial rank and deleting the comment by “Real Hockey Fan.” Disagreeing is fine, provided you can make your argument without slurs, speculation, name-calling or foul language.

    Everyone up to this point has stated their opinion in a very respectful way – exactly what I would have expected from Clay Aiken fans. This discussion has really impressed me and I hope every single one of you watches Clay sing the heck out of the SSG this weekend, then sticks around for the game.

    The NHL needs fans. Clay is one, and we hope you will be too. Apologies from us on behalf of anyone who treats your opinions with less than that respect.

    Real Hockey Fan – You’re welcome to comment again and make your point. Please do so without being offensive.

  20. Chris January 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    PANTS: Thank you for being a voice of reason. Is it Sunday yet? 🙂

  21. RIFAN January 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    “Maybe Aiken’s performance will turn a whole new middle-aged generation of Claymates into avid hockey fans.”

    Clay Aiken fan here–grew up in NH–went to UNH–great hockey team–my three daughters were all big hockey fans (Bruins and UNH) also.

    Being a Clay Aiken fan and a hockey fan are not mutually exclusive!!

    Sterotypes abound!!!

  22. Chris January 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    PS Just had to answer @Chuck: I’ll be watching the game. I’m a HUGE NHL fan and have been for decades. Wish I could be there in person to see the game in fact. Also LOVE Indycar, which just happens to often be shown on Versus will be be showing the game Sunday.

  23. RIFAN January 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm #


  24. Doreen January 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    You say it doesn’t make sense to have Clay Aiken singing the national anthem. There are several things I feel are important when choosing someone to sing the national anthem. First of all, they need to have a great voice. Second, they need to be professional and be prepared. Third, they should sing the song without adding a lot of vocal gymnastics and give the song the respect it deserves. Looks to me like Clay has all the qualifications for the job and choosing him makes perfect sense to me. After listening to the video posted above, I’m sure most of you will agree with me.

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