Just wanted to point out Ruben hasn't gone platinum yet - gold is also a very significant achievement for a single.
And I'm glad you are happy with the responses on this thread, nausicaa, I thought the same thing - that this topic might get ugly.
Also, wanted to add that I feel just like abrahammy, I can understand why some fans are so clazy, but am personally not into worshipping Clay or anyone, especially in the entertainment arena. HOWEVER, it CAN be said that Clay is popular NOT just because of a TV show. It's his genuine character, along with those pipes of his, that has drawn so many fans - some that haven't even listened to pop music lately. We get to see ourselves (or what we want to see in ourselves) in Clay because he is more like us than the popstars that were manufactured (instead of born) and their hip image forced onto us. Why should we get so excited over a "product" of the music's marketing ploy, that is just trying to sell us something else we don't need/want, when we can get the real thing (or something more moral) from Clay who seems to go against the mainstream in a good way?
Clay is not just talented in his technique but he also has a knack for conveying his soul to us through his voice - we get to hear that "I might not have had a perfect life so far, but that's just fine with me, I'll survive" mentality (much more refreshing than Eminem, I might add). Clay is a pop culture phenomenon and there is hope that his fame and good fortune will last as long as people can identify with him, simply put.
ETA that I agree with MattyBravo that Simon was not trying to be unfair to Clay, (EL and Grease weren't exactly what would be describe as outstanding in pop performances) there really wasn't anything he could do to harm Clay for that matter, if anything, Simon's critiques help him more. Clay was leading the competition as they probably knew he would from the beginning and the so called Clay-bashing was mostly flamed from the fact that Ruben wasn't being fairly judged, but this was done just to keep the competition close.