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After coming in second place on American Idol, Clay Aiken’s debut album, Measure of Man, sold 3 million copies. He later appeared on The Apprentice and ran for Congress.
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Aiken left RCA shortly after the album was released. His fifth album, The Very Best of Clay Aiken, was released at the end of March 2009 on Sony's Legacy Recordings Playlist Series. Later that year, Aiken signed with Universal Music's Decca Records. He released a new album in 2010, entitled Tried and True. The album was one of Aiken's least successful, with only 50,
000 copies being sold in the U.S.
Aiken returned to reality television as a contestant in the fifth season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice in 2012. He competed against other figures in the media, such as Victoria Gotti, Aubrey O'Day, Debbie Gibson and Lou Ferrigno. Aiken placed second in reality TV yet again, losing to Arsenio Hall in the finale. While competing, Aiken represented the National Inclusion Project.
Opting to take his career in a different direction, Aiken announced in February of 2014 that he would be running for Congress in North Carolina as a Democrat. His bid for a seat in Congress, which was revealed to the public through a YouTube video, put the singer against Representative Renee Ellmers—a Republican who won the seat in 2010. The region is also largely conservative, with Mitt Romney having won 58 percent of the North Carolina vote in the 2012 presidential election.
Aiken surprised fans in 2008, when he confirmed in People magazine interview that he is gay. In August of that year, Aiken announced the arrival of his first child, Parker Foster Aiken. His long-time friend and music producer Jaymes Foster, served as the surrogate for the child. He is currently romantically linked to Broadway actor Reed Kelly.
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