Clay Aiken performs JT’s “SexyBack,” says there was “no reason” to do an album of covers

In a candid interview, American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken admits that he was “strongly encouraged” to produce an album of cover songs, even though he found “no reason” to do that.

Asked about his most recent album, Clay told the Houston Chronicle that songs that weren’t included were “Things other than covers. Sorry, I’m being way too honest today. How do I say this politically correctly? I was strongly encouraged by other sources to do an album of covers. There was the feeling that it might be successful because there’d been success with Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow doing covers. I guess the argument against that would be I don’t have the reputation that Rod Stewart has. I really don’t have the credibility that he has, so there’s no reason for me to do them.”

While he says he’s “really proud of” that album, his “goal for the next album is to go with one producer. The person we picked is very credible, has won Grammys and has really done an eclectic mix of stuff. The hope is that we’ll be able to find really great songs that suit me and produce them in a way that … makes me hip without trying too hard.”

Besides revealing that a fan once sent him a turkey baster, he also says that Justin Timberlake is “extremely talented.” While Clay, who is finishing a summer symphony tour, is “not a huge fan of” Timberlake’s latest album FutureSex/LoveSounds, he says, “I’m actually going to do — God help me for saying this — with [the orchestra], a little bit of SexyBack. We’re going to do a little medley of songs that people wouldn’t expect to hear with an orchestra. I know that it’s not going to be cool. I have no problem making fun of myself. I could never pull songs like that off without knowing where my place is, and it’s not as Justin Timberlake. Thank God we have him. I’m happy to be the person who gets the old ladies covered.”

Since he can laugh at himself, he won’t mind us laughing at him singing the song, captured here by fans at a Newark concert on July 28:

Clay Aiken: ‘We must embrace our inner dork’ [Houston Chronicle]