Clay Aiken Promotes His Carolina Hometown

02/01/2005 at 02:20 PM EST

Clay Aiken Promotes His Carolina Hometown
Clay Aiken
Steve Granitz/Wireimage

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

The Chamber of Commerce in Raleigh, N.C., has one big booster: hometown boy Clay Aiken is singing the city's praises.

A new video produced for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance promotes the slogan "Downtown Raleigh Open for Business" – and includes a brief appearance by the former American Idol contestant.

The alliance distributed 200 copies of the eight-minute video to the business community this week and posted it – Aiken's appearance included – on its downtownraleigh.org Web site, reports the Associated Press.

As Aiken says on film: "I've traveled all over the country and seen lots of downtown areas, but one of the reasons that I really love coming back to my hometown of Raleigh is to see all the exciting changes that are happening in downtown, right here in Raleigh."

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"This video will be another tool in our economic development toolbox," Margaret Mullen, president of the DRA, says in a press release. "We will distribute it to real estate brokers, prospects, relocation firms, potential investors and developers."

Meanwhile, Aiken, 26, was also the recipient of some praise this week. Idol judge Simon Cowell, not known for his compliments, told AP that Aiken, a onetime geek who was a 2003 runner-up, exemplifies the show's unpredictable appeal.

"Clay Aiken has been and probably will be the biggest-selling Idol artist ever – and he didn't fit the mold," says Cowell. "He just so happened to be what the public wanted."

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