Hi there, I'm a new member of FORT and, in particular, of this forum. However, I lurked here for the entire duration of AI2, and shared many of you people's fears and joys as the world watched OBC transform himself from geeky fashion disaster into unlikely heartthrob/superstar.
He stuck out like a sore thumb among the more "conventional" contestants, and this quality - along w/ the undeniable power of his voice - made him exude an uniqueness in our eyes.
However, now that AI2 has been over for a while and I've been removed from the immediacy of the show (and the rarefied world which it exists in), I'm starting the question the validity of some of my fellow ClayLovers' near-worshipful behaviour towards Clay. I wouldn't be having second thoughts about this had I not been struck by the continuous - and indiscriminating - flow of praise and adoration that's been flooding this forum for the past couple of months. The termination of the show hasn't curbed it; if possible, it has increased the Clayzies' all-encompassing love-affair with their idol, to the point where I'm reading posts where Clay's accidental killing of his cat is staunchly and fervently defended ('cause heaven forbid that the kid was anything less than saintly as a child!), and where Clay fans agonize over whether a pair of innocuously-thrown red panties might pollute the purity of his image forever.
Clay is only 24. He is neither a saint, nor a hero, despite his charming personality and the philanthropic nature of his former profession as a special-needs worker. Perhaps the aforementioned attributes are enough to qualify him as a hero or inspirational figurehead in some people's eyes, but not in mine. Yes, it's all well and good to quote him as saying how he wants to inspire people through his songs "to love, think, feel and act" [not exact quote], but he is only 24 and, so far, hasn't shown the sort of profundity, brilliance, and social conscience that exemplifies the best of heroes. I'm thinking people like Gandhi or, musically-speaking, John Lennon - people who either challenged society or set it aflame. Clay is a wonderful entertainer that sets hearts flutter, but let's not try to elevate him to the skies.
Furthermore, Clay is not a musical genius, and isn't even the be all and end all of musical talent. Painful though it is for me to admit it, OBC frequently oversings, and seems - in many of his songs - to go for the glory notes for melodramatic effect, instead of subtlety for true poignancy. This is *just my opinion*, of course, but all I'm trying to say that excellence in music doesn't require a big voice and technical proficiency. "Autumn in New York", one of Lady Day's most moving songs, was sung in the twilight of her career, when her voice was fading. Johnny Cash, America's proverbial rock-and-roll cowboy, has a cigar-and-gravel voice, but he's used it to make some of the most haunting rock/country melodies ever.
Furthermore, it's not like Clay can play an instrument (like, say, Jimi Hendrix ) or write original songs (like Tori Amos, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen...the list goes on and on.) In fact, all of the songs he sings on his album are kind of ...corny (*dodges tomatoes*) So, while he was definitely one of a kind on AI2, what makes him so special in the real music world that he justifies *this* much commotion?
I'm puzzled, truly.
If anyone can enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.