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Clay Aiken Defends His Busy Schedule

04/24/2008 at 07:00 PM EDT

Clay Aiken Defends His Busy Schedule
Clay Aiken
Albert Ferreira/startraks

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

Work is keeping Clay Aiken busy – as he pointed out to a reporter in Washington, D.C., who asked him if he was doing enough as a member of the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

The second-season American Idol runner-up and current Broadway headliner, 29, blamed his busy schedule when a reporter from The Washington Post confronted him. "The last time I had two days off in a row was October," said the crooner. "I was on tour throughout the country through Christmas, then I went straight to Mexico for UNICEF. [Then] I went straight to New York for Spamalot."

Having been appointed to the committee in fall 2006, Aiken added, "If there's something I can do remotely, I would've been happy to do it."

Aiken, whose new album is set for release early next month, is scheduled to remain in Spamalot through May 4.

As for this season's Idol, he finds it lacking. What it needs, he suggests, is some of the "kids next door" sense provided earlier by the likes of Ruben Studdard, Fantasia and himself.

Of the current crop of finalists, he says: "My understanding is that a lot of them are coming up from having contracts already. It's different now."

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