Clay Aiken didn't come in first place in last year's American Idol contest, but he's still a shining star with his most loyal fans — and there are a lot of them.
Measure of a Man is nearing sales of $3 million already. It includes Aiken's first single, "This Is the Night," and "Solitaire," which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart.
Aiken, who performed on "Good Morning America" as part of the morning show's summer concert series, will kick off his solo tour this summer.
He's also busy working on a holiday-themed CD, to be released for Christmas 2004.
Aiken, who went from an awkward-looking college student to a polished performer overnight, lost to contestant Ruben Studdard by less than 1 percent of the vote.
In an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer last year, Aiken said he has never taken himself too seriously, even during his run on American Idol.
"In my case, triumph of the nerds," Aiken told Sawyer. "It was a great moment for that show. It was really an opportunity for them to have to eat their words. Simon didn't know exactly what to crack on, and the media didn't know exactly what it was about me that made me look weird. So I said, 'Well, let's give them something.' "
Aiken, 24, was a college kid teaching autistic kids when he auditioned for American Idol. The boyish-looking singer has a powerful and supple voice, but he struggled a bit with some aspects of performing during the competition.
Simon Cowell, the sharp-tongued English judge on the show, once used the word "horrible" to describe Aiken after his performance, telling the young singer, "Everything about that was horrible."
Even Aiken, looking back at that performance, admits that he isn't the best dancer.
"I shouldn't have danced," Aiken said. "It was horrible."
And he shouldn't have worn that tacky red jacket, either, he agreed.
"Yeah, I think it was a mistake," Aiken said. "I think the hip shake was a bigger mistake than the jacket was. I think that the red jacket made people say — and the hip shake made people go, wha'?"
Still, despite all the snide remarks, these days he is standing proud and more than ready to share his voice with the world