"I will beat everyone," declares Scrabble addict Clarkson (with Aiken and tour staff aboard the bus they share). The duo decided against separate buses for themselves. "We're from the South," says Clarkson. "We want to save money!"
"There are no rivalries between me and Clay," says Clarkson (swinging with Aiken in Miami). "It's like a sibling relationship" Says Aiken: "I've never before had anyone I could talk to who had been through the same thing I've been through [on this tour]."
Aiken passes up a buffet to fix a fave: a honey-on-white-bread sandwich. "This is not to coat my throat," he says. "It's just something I've done since I was little. I guess it's comfort food." Other Aiken must-haves: Krispy Kreme donuts and Hot Pockets.
Before the show Clarkson (having her lipstick touched up) chugs water and vocalizes. For his part Aiken (winding down after a performance with a massage) has foundation air-brushed on and gets his strawberry-blond eyebrows dyed darker; otherwise, he explains, "they disappear onstage."
Let's Duo it
"I don't give [singing] tips and he doesn't need them," says Clarkson (dueting with Aiken in Miami). Says Aiken, jokingly: "I'm begging for tips!"
"'Claymates' are very motherly," says Aiken (posing with a doppelganger doll given to him by a fan from Phoenix) of his rabid following. "They want to make sure I'm well and they want to tuck me in."
"Our audience is from 90 years old to 6," says Aiken (off-camera greeting fans). "This is a family show. We're not singing Barney songs, but it's [also] not anything to be afraid of."