Clay Aiken will perform at state fair
'American Idol' star will sing Aug. 13
By NICK ROGERS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT WRITER
The Illinois State Fair is banking on "Idol"-worshipping crowds at the Grandstand.
Clay Aiken, runner-up in 2003's "American Idol" competition, will perform Friday, Aug. 13, the opening night of the 2004 Illinois State Fair.
The date is listed online at www.pollstar.com, a Web site of concert bookings; and also at Aiken's Web site, www.clayaiken.com.
H.W. Devlin, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, couldn't confirm the booking Monday, saying contracts have not been finalized. Ticket prices and availability have not been announced for any of the fair's Grandstand concerts.
Aiken lost to R&B crooner Ruben Studdard in the second season of Fox's reality-TV juggernaut, where everyday singers compete for record contracts and pop-star fame. Still, his subsequent single, "This is the Night," shot to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart and outsold Studdard's single "Flying Without Wings."
The slender, spiky-haired silver medallist also struck first with a full-length album, releasing "Measure of a Man" in October 2003.
Spurred by the Top-10 single "Invisible," the album sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week and has since been certified double-platinum, with sales exceeding 2 million.
Aiken won a Fan's Choice Award at the American Music Awards and was nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. He appeared on the now-canceled NBC drama "Ed" and performed on "Saturday Night Live" in February.
He previously co-headlined a national tour with 2002 "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson and will kick off this solo headlining tour July 6.
Epic Hero, a band produced by Semisonic front man Dan Wilson, is listed as Aiken's opening act.
Other concerts scheduled at the Grandstand, according to www.pollstar.com, are: Clint Black, Aug. 14; Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt, Aug. 20; and the Rock and Soul 2004 Revue, featuring Average White Band, Hall & Oates and Michael McDonald, Aug. 21. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra will give a free performance Aug. 22.
Nick Rogers can be reached at 747-9587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.