Clay Aiken, the American Idol contestant who became famous in the early aughts for his renditions of songs like “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” announced today that he will run for a congressional seat in North Carolina’s second district. The singer-songwriter seems pretty serious about trying to change his image: Not only has he ditched his youthful, bleached-and-spiked hairdo (he is probably the only person alive for whom this is not an improvement), but his campaign video is a very earnest attempt to distance himself from his golden-ticket days. “For most Americans, there are no golden tickets, at least not like the ones you see on TV,” he says soberly, proclaiming his status as an all-American Everyman and bipartisan Democrat. To be fair, it’s not his first time dabbling in politics: According to his video, he served on a “presidential committee to address the educational challenges of children with special needs” under President Bush.
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