Christmas apparently isn't as cool as it once was with recording artists. There is considerably less holiday albums released these days as there was a generation ago.
But Clay Aiken's reaches for Christmas music at this time of year. The pop artist doesn't care if Christmas isn't cool.
"That doesn't matter to me because I'm not cool either," Aiken said while calling from New York where he is taping a segment for the "Dr. Oz" show. "I can see why Christmas isn't cool. It can be schmaltzy and cheesy but that's fine for my personality. That's why I'm out on another Christmas tour. I love it."
The American Idol alum (class of 2003, runner-up to "A.I." champ Ruben Studdard), will perform Sunday at the Capitol Theatre. Aiken will tour behind Christmas music each year in perpetuity. "I'm going to do it annually since I hope to become the next Andy Williams," Aiken said. "I don't think anyone else wants to be the contemporary Christmas artist and that's alright with me. I would love to be able to be known as the Christmas artist."
Expect Aiken, who will be backed by an orchestra, to belt out an array of Christmas classics. Such seasonal favorites as "Winter Wonderland," "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night," which are on Aiken's 2004 release "Merry Christmas With Love," will be rendered.
"I had the greatest time making that album," Aiken said. "From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a part of the holiday season every year. You don't have to see me the rest of the year."
Well, Aiken is just kidding. "You'll hear plenty of my non-Christmas albums in the upcoming years," Aiken said.
But expect much of Aiken's future material to be retro. Aiken was born too late and he knows it. The pop singer would have been perfectly at home during the '60s singing hits from legendary Brill Building songwriters, such as Neil Diamond, Carole King and Neil Sedaka.
Aiken revels in singing love songs from a bygone era.
"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," penned by the aforementioned Sedaka, Henry Mancini's "Moon River" and Roy Orbison's "Crying" is some of the tunes Aiken loves to croon.
"I have to agree with your born too late line," Aiken said. "I just hope it's not born too late, died too soon. I think my voice fits those songs from the '60s and '70s and I just love those songs. They are wonderful songs from a wonderful period. I feel like I relate to the songs from that period."
That's why it was so uncomfortable watching the post-"Idol" Aiken be dressed up by the corporate machine into something he isn't. You couldn't help but wince watching Aiken in a leather jacket.
"I think it's so important to stay in your own lane," Aiken said. "When I put out my first two albums, they were dressing me up like I was going to be the next Justin Timberlake or how Justin Bieber looks today. That image just doesn't work for me. But there is a type of music that works for me, it's Christmas music."
Clay Aiken appears Sunday at. Tickets are. Show time is 7 p.m. For more information, call
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Capitol Theatre, Clearwater
Tickets: $55 and $75; (727) 791-7400 and www.rutheckerdhall.com