American Idol alum Clay Aiken blasted the show that plucked him from obscurity, as well as this season's runner-up Adam Lambert, saying, "I thought my ears would bleed" when he heard the glamboyant contestant. It's the most controversial criticism lobbed at the show from a former Idol since Chris Daughtry told Rolling Stone he thought the show was in a "state of decline."
Gawker picked up Aiken's comments, which came in response to a fan question regarding the newly concluded season of Idol — and Aiken didn't hold anything back. (Check out photos from the star-studded AI finale.)
"I couldn't be happier about the way [Idol] ended this year," Aiken wrote. "I only turn the show on once a season, and only to see what the set looks like each year. This year, I happened to turn it [on] during the minute that Adam Lambert was singing'â€˜Ring of Fire,' and, at that moment, thought my ears would bleed. Contrived, awful and slightly frightening."
Tell us what you really think, Clay. "I wasn't really a fan and found myself surprised whenever folks told me that they liked him," Aiken wrote. "Granted, I never saw another performance (and many folks who I trust said that he was great) but I can't imagine I would have enjoyed it. Just not my cup of tea at all. To each his own." (Flip through photos of Lambert in all his leather-and-spandex glory.)
Aiken admits he never caught any of Idol victor Kris Allen's performances, saying that he thinks the Arkansas native won because he is "likable," before drawing a parallel to his showdown with Ruben Studdard.
"It's about the person you like," he wrote. "When Ruben and I were standing next to each other every night (many years ago), you had two equally talented, equally unlikely, equally unpolished contestants, so it really was a matter of taste as to who was voted for. While some may argue that one of us was hyped more than the other, I donâ€™t feel that was the case. However, this year, there was an obvious bias. Not even having watched the show, I can tell you that I was well aware of the bias from the judges as to who should win. In my opinion, that is awfully unattractive. I don't think I am alone."
Aiken stated the obvious, saying that the show ultimately comes down to the final night, when "the audience can effectively vote against the person that they don't want to see win." He continued, "In the case of season two, this might have happened. There may have been some folks who voted for myself or Ruben because they didn't like the other of us. I was the nerdy little girly boy who some didn't want to see win, so they may have voted for Ruben. I don't know, but again, I feel that Ruben and I were fairly matched."
He concluded by saying he thinks Allen won due to viewer backlash against Lambert favoritism levied by the judges and ultimately, the show's producers.
"I think many voters got sick of being told who to vote for," he wrote. "I think many were turned off by the blatant favoritism shown towards one contestant. Therefore, on that last night, they used their votes against a contestant that they were tired of hearing about and for the contestant who had been written off. And, at the same time, I think they voted against an American Idol that has, for four years now, been more about the slick productions and polished contestants than it has been about finding the raw talent that it did in its first three seasons."