Aiken guest stars on NBC's comedy Scrubs. Playing a cafeteria worker named Kenny, Aiken sings, "Isn't She Lovely?" in front of the sitcom's first-ever live audience. "I guess I have a little experience with live audiences, so they said, 'Why not come out and give it a shot?'" he tells MTV.
Aiken launches the Jukebox tour, a series of shows celebrating hit songs from the past five decades, like his signature cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
In a surprise appearance during the American Idol season finale, Aiken sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," with Michael Sandecki, an Idol wannabe who told judges that his dream was to do a duet with Aiken. Aiken's hair is a surprise too: he appears sporting straightened, newly brunette hair. "I think it was too dark. But it wasn't that bad," he later tells PEOPLE.
Aiken's third album, A Thousand Different Ways, with classic covers and four new songs, sells 205,000 copies its debut week, making Aiken the fourth artist to have his first three albums debut in the Top 5 and sell more than 200,000 in their first weeks.
In a candid interview with PEOPLE, Aiken addresses Internet speculation about his sexual orientation. "It doesn't matter what I say. People are going to believe what they want," he says. "People who know me best, even fans, they know who I am. They know what's true." In June 2007, Aiken's fans can't seem to come to a consensus about his sexuality. His official fan club shuts down its message board due to "reports of extensive unrest and disrespect amongst members," reports the New York Post.
Aiken makes his Broadway debut in Monty Python's Spamalot. "The first time I saw it I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen in my entire life," he tells Newsweek. "My tour drummer is the Spamalot drummer, and said you've got to see it again." Aiken plays Sir Robin – a role originated by David Hyde Pierce – in the Tony Award-winning musical. Director Mike Nichols says in a statement, "Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character."
Aiken releases his latest album, On My Way Here. "We tried to find lyrics that were powerful and meant something," Aiken tells the New York Post." It debuts at No. 4 on the Billboard charts.
Aiken, 29, welcomes son, Parker Foster Aiken, with longtime friend, music producer Jaymes Foster, 50, who was artificially inseminated by Aiken. The former Idol star, who has long kept mum about his sexuality, revealed he's gay on the cover of PEOPLE, where he appeared with his newborn baby boy.
Aiken returns to reality TV for the fifth season of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, vying for the title to become Donald Trump's protégé. Facing off against comedian Arsenio Hall, the former American Idol runner-up raises more money for his charity in the final task, but ultimately loses to Hall, claiming another second place finish.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): NBC/Everett; Vince Bucci/GETTY; matthew rolston; Joan Marcus; Carolyn Contino/Berliner; Mitchell Haaseth/NBC