CLAY AIKEN SANG 'SOLITAIRE'
LIVE IN 2004;
HEARTBREAKING, THRILLING, ENCHANTING
His triumphant return
to the American Idol stage-
One person's response
to the March 17, 2004 performance
The long legs, the dark suit, the freshly
darkened hair, the confident stride up to the microphone;
the eyes, the eyelashes, the skin with the barest sprinkling of
freckles visible, the mouth... the mouth, the voice, the voice,
the voice-- it broke my heart with its stunning beauty and passion.
Host Ryan Seacrest spoke the name "Clay
Aiken" and I don't know how I continued to breathe for the next two and
a half minutes. I'm fairly certain I didn't for much of the time because
I had such a lump in my throat that I actually became dizzy for a few moments.
"...who would command.... the hand he's
When those words floated from Clay's mouth,
I think my breathing stopped for the first time- the breathtaking beauty
of his voice on that last low note was enough to bring it to a halt.
He continued to sing, in that voice that
could only have come from heaven, and my heart continued to swell as I
watched transfixed. I must have begun breathing again sometime...
I am not sure how or when.
When he came to the words "...a little
hope... goes up in smoke....."
I stopped breathing again at the sheer
sweetness and sadness of it.
And when the passionate, powerful, heart-stopping
word "Solitaaaaaaarrrrrree..........." came out of that expressive
mouth and hung gloriously in the air as the camera gave us a 360 degree
view of the man- for over 15 dazzling seconds- that is when my tears came.
Tears for the beauty of it, the beauty of him, of his heart, of
his mind, of his strength, of his courage, of his tenacity, of his grace
and humor..... it all came together and the tears spilled down my cheeks
as they only rarely have.
I swallowed an audible sob as the song
ended and I had to laugh through the tears at his smile of triumph and
joy as the audience roared its collective appreciation in response to his
remarkable and passionate performance. Clay Aiken was unable to contain
his radiant smile- and on his face was the expression of a little boy on
Christmas morning- as he soaked in the love from the crowd!
That is when I heard a noise from my husband
who was sitting in the chair adjacent to me. I chanced a look over
at him, expecting to see him laughing teasingly at my emotion, but what
I saw was a man with tears in his eyes, who looked back at me and said
simply and with wonder, "I forgot to breathe."