UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken prepares to tour, disses Hollywood.

As part of his work as a celebrity UNICEF ambassador, Clay Aiken visited northern Uganda “to witness the phenomenon of ‘night commuters,’ children who trek from the countryside into slightly more secure towns and UNICEF-supported shelters every night to avoid being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),” UNICEF said in a press release.

Clay said, “The global community must act now with utmost urgency to put an end to these atrocities. No progress will be made until there is peace throughout the country.”

After his trip, Access Hollywood published a report suggesting the American Idol 2 runner-up may leave LA to return to small town life. He told the tabloid show, “I think the thing that is hard about L.A. for me is that it is so big and unfortunately people who I have met in L.A. — a lot of people who I work with who work inside the music industry — they are not always the most savory characters. But there are people in the industry who spend too much time on the wrong things.” Clay said he “miss[es] the small town atmosphere. It’s so much slower and the people that I come into contact with daily in North Carolina don’t necessarily have an agenda.”

Clay’s summer tour begins tomorrow in New Jersey. I might as well confess now that I’ll be seeing Clay in concert next week during his tour. It’s time, I decided, to find out, in person, how and why he inspires so much passion.

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken returns from northern Uganda’s conflict-affected districts [UNICEF press release]
Is Clay Aiken turning his back on Hollywood? [Access Hollywood]
Clay Aiken: Tour Dates [VH1]