American Idol alum Clay Aiken just announced he’s running for Congress in North Carolina and fans of fellow American Idol alum Ruben Studdard are upset.
Aiken made the big announcement in a video posted to his Twitter page earlier today.
“Can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you?” he wrote. “That’s a long time. A LOT has changed! We need powerful voices more than ever, so I’m running for Congress. And my voice is even stronger now! ;-)”
Can you believe it's been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you? That's a long time. A LOT has changed!
We need powerful voices more than ever, so I'm running for Congress.
— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) January 10, 2022
In the video, Aiken takes aim at Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who he labels a “white nationalist”, and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, whom he refers to as a “hateful homophobe.”
“Because if the loudest and most hateful voices think they’re gonna speak for us, just tell ’em I’m warming up the old vocal cords,” he says.
Now, it’s only been a few hours since Aiken released the video and his candidacy is already causing a controversy on Twitter… although it’s not for anything the singer did, but rather something he didn’t do.
Many people have been mistakenly calling him an “American Idol winner” when he actually finished second place on the second season of the show back in 2003. The winner that season was Ruben Studdard.
Clay Aiken didn’t win American Idol. Ruben Studdard did…
— Matthew (@itsflawless19) January 10, 2022
Excuse me. Clay Aiken did not win "American Idol." This Ruben Studdard erasure will not stand. "Sorry 2004" is…a song. That exists. How dare you. pic.twitter.com/I2b5UeZc7S
— [kie.ran] (@danblackroyd) January 10, 2022
Actually, Clay, one of my favorites, came in 2nd on American Idol. But good for him. He’s been a political activist for a while now! Supported Amy Klobuchar in the primary.
— Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) January 10, 2022
First of all, he didn’t win Idol, that was Ruben Studdard.
Second, why? What is the reason. pic.twitter.com/RzeDxKZzqp
— It’s Kadey, beech ? (@kadeyobe10) January 10, 2022
Clay DID NOT win… Ruben Studdard did. Delete this pic.twitter.com/yCTYtS0Gct
— Tavion✨ (@TJayCray) January 10, 2022
What is this Ruben Studdard erasure? pic.twitter.com/H3pjTGD3RX
— Michael McGoorty (@MichaelMcGoorty) January 10, 2022
Well, not to get technical, but he came in 2nd place to winner Ruben Studdard. And I’m super dorky that I know that. But GO CLAY AIKEN!
— Marthonius J. Gleason 🇺🇸 (@MrsMLG923) January 10, 2022
Luckily, Studdard doesn’t seem too miffed over the mix up. After being off Twitter for nearly a year, he logged back into his account today to retweet Aiken’s campaign announcement.
Ruben Studdard logged into Twitter for the 1st time in a year to RT Clay Aiken’s Congress bid pic.twitter.com/xXf0sdbX5I
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) January 10, 2022
Local outlet CBS 17 reports that Aiken is joining a crowded Democratic primary field that already has nearly a dozen candidates, including multiple state senators and a member of the Durham County Board of Commissioners.
If elected, Aiken’s campaign says he’ll be the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress elected from the South.
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.