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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/801ebdcc8dcf5ac65041229ddcbdba55cef9d3ae.jpg Merry Christmas With Love

Clay Aiken

Merry Christmas With Love

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November 29, 2004

America's favorite American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken takes his second full-length bow with a collection of Christmas pop and religious standards. There's more of Aiken's intense tenor that won fans over on the show, as he takes on "Mary, Did You Know," and "The Christmas Song," at times cutting a path somewhere between Andy Williams and Josh Groban. At others though, like on "Silent Night," things sound more akin to a live recording of the TV show, as Aiken's phrasing ends up stuttered, like he's missed a line — joining the backing choir after a verse has already started. As he hits the upbeat "Winter Wonderland," the lanky twenty-something reins things in for the finale, singing each note as perfect as if it were a Disney special.

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