Aiken has been forgiven, apparently. After all, he has scored the role of "brave" Sir Robin in Broadway's "Monty Python's Spamalot," the play based on the great movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
"One of the reasons that it intrigued me was that it was so different," Aiken told the Associated Press. "Nobody I think would have expected me to show up in 'Spamalot.'"
Aiken, 29, has taken over the role of Sir Robin, the cowardly knight that [Eric] Idle once played on film and David Hyde Pierce originated when the Tony Award-winning musical debuted in 2005.
"I think I'm probably just like the character -- kind of chicken, afraid of everything and likes to sing. This particular character becomes a knight because he really just wants to sing and dance. He's so surprised when he finds out there's fighting involved. That kind of silly stupidity? -- yeah, that's me."...
Associate director Peter Lawrence says Aiken has been no idle diva; the singer asked to be treated like any other company member and has been surprisingly fearless.
"Clay really surprised me. When you meet him, he's this sweet kid from North Carolina with an accent. And you think there's no way he can do Cambridge material. And then he does," says Lawrence. ...
Aiken, who got a degree in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was teaching grade school kids with autism before he tried out for "Idol" in Atlanta. He was a former member of the Raleigh Boys Choir, and occasionally sang at weddings and at church.
"There's not really a market in North Carolina to sing for a living. There's not that career path for people. So I never really assumed or had any dreams or aspirations to sing," he says.
That changed in the seventh grade when his mother took him and a friend to a local production of the musical "Big River," starring Martin Moran as Huckleberry Finn.
"It was the first time ever that I looked on stage and saw people -- you know, adults -- singing. And I thought, 'Wow, wait a second. You can actually sing for a living?' " he recalls. "From that point on, I kind of allowed music to be a part of my what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up scenario." ...