01/31/2015  
Whiplash on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Feb 24The World Made Straight on DVD & Blu-ray Feb 17Horse Camp on DVD Feb 24Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXII on DVD Mar 24The New Public on DVD Feb 3Regular Show - Mordecai Pack on DVD on Jan 27Rosewater on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb 10

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Whiplash on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Feb 24...
The World Made Straight on DVD & Blu-ray Feb 17...
Horse Camp on DVD Feb 24...
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXII on DVD Mar 24...
SAG Awards 2015: "Birdman" soars away with top prize - ...
The New Public on DVD Feb 3...
Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore Ending Their Marriage ...
Regular Show - Mordecai Pack on DVD on Jan 27...
Rosewater on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb 10...
Watch Larry Wilmore's Scathing Takedown of Bill Cosby ...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

BMG presents
A Clay Aiken Christmas (2004)

"I'm Clay Aiken, and this is my Christmas special. As you can see, it's going to be a little bit different. While you sit back and enjoy the songs, we're going to show you how we made a show like this. It's going to be different and I hope you enjoy it. It's my special gift to you."
- Clay Aiken

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 11, 2005

Stars: Clay Aiken
Other Stars: Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams, Quiana Parler
Director: Louis J. Horwitz

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (musical gouda)
Run Time: 00h:37m:05s
Release Date: December 14, 2004
UPC: 828766626193
Genre: holiday


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-C+B D

DVD Review

I'll admit it, when American Idol's second season aired, I was rooting for Clay. Hey, I had to root for someone, and I just didn't think Reuben's heart could take the strain of winning. Or walking up the steps to the stage. So anyway, Clay lost, but millions of deranged teenage girls for whom Paul Anka is just too suave and cool made Clay the real breakout star. I, meanwhile, had no further use for him, nor his debut album (by the way, to the person who penned his lyric "If I was invisible/I could just watch you in your room..." Yeah, that's a little creepy, even for the guy on the cover of Non-threatening Boys Magazine), but now, those still "Aiken for Clay" (oh, you clever teenagers with your glitter-laden poster board signs) can relive the holiday magic with the smooth, syrupy vocals of the nation's favorite Broadway belter. Truly a white Christmas, if you know what I mean.

All the Clay standards are in effect throughout this nine-song special—the fluttering eyelids, the endless crooning, the overstated phrasing... These are all songs you've heard a million times, and Clay, though he sounds as clear and pleasant as ever, does nothing to make them interesting (I even found myself missing the overblown productions that characterized his late stage Idol appearances, like the one that made Bridge Over Troubled Water into a bombastic power ballad). Clay is constantly surrounded by bored-looking children and a polite group of parents who clap dutifully after each song, or when Clay stops singing to introduce a special guest, be it Barry "The Original Clay" Manilow or gospel singer Yolanda Adams, who, surprisingly, is not Caucasian (the mind boggles!), though I do seem to remember huge backing gospel choirs for some of Clay's more operatic Idol performances, so there's your precedent.

Throughout, the production values hover around the level of a PBS telethon. Clay says the special will be intercut with behind-the-scenes clips and production chatter as his "special gift" to viewers, but I think it's just an excuse to hide the shoddy staging and low budget. The "house" Clay is singing in looks about as good as the sets from my high school production of The Sound of Music (though the lighting isn't as good), and in every other shot you can see one of the other cameras or a monitor floating by distractingly in the background. The pacing is slow as molasses, and the soft lighting and languid vocals will slow your heart rate even further.

I've have to admit, I don't see what's so appealing about Clay outside of the reality show arena. He's got a great voice, but the kind of music and phrasing he seems to prefer is just a little too... unflavored for me. The guy makes Ned Flanders look like a rebel. But, two-million-plus albums sold, what do I know? Other than the fact that my opinion means nothing to thronging balls of hormones, and also some of their moms and more festive male relations, I mean.

Songs include:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Clay Aiken)
Happy Holidays/White Christmas (Barry Manilow)
Christmas Waltz (Clay Aiken)
O, Holy Night (Yolanda Adams)
Merry Christmas with Love (Clay Aiken)
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Clay Aiken, Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams)
Silver Bells (Clay Aiken, Quiana Parler)
Mary, Did You Know? (Clay Aiken)
Because It's Christmas (For All the Children) (Clay Aiken, Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams)


As staid as that selection is, I'm just happy it doesn't include Walking in a Winter Wonderland or, especially, Sleigh Ride. I'll consider that my special gift, Aiken.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Though shot in widescreen and anamorphically enhanced, A Clay Aiken Christmas still looks fairly spotty. Shot on video, the transfer is very fuzzy, with slightly smeary colors and murky contrast.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English Stereoyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: There's not much difference between the stereo and DD 5.1 mixes. Both are very front heavy, though the latter beefs up the vocals through the center channel. Both sound clear and unremarkable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Music/Song Access with 9 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra is an 11-minute loop of dull making-of footage (SEE the director talking to the extras! SEE the stagehands spraying fake snow on the windows!) that would be a lot more novel were not the entire program filmed with a behind-the-scenes framework. As it is, the reel plays like cut material even more boring than the production footage that actually made it into the special.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

A Clay Aiken Christmas is a fairly unimpressive production, but it's packed full of Clay's crooning, so it's no doubt an essential purchase for many who can't resist his lily-white charms. If you've yet to hop aboard the Clay train, though, this isn't your ticket. (Unless you absolutely need to hear the umpteenth version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.) (You don't.) Either way, I'm sure you'll get to hear it all next December, on an endless loop in the mall.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, thriller, comedy, movie, sag awards, birdman, michael keaton, eddie redmayne, the theory of everything, julianne moore, still alice, documentary, music, ryan adams, rocker, mandy moore, pop star, austin city limits, animation, television, comedy channel, larry wilmore, the nightly show, bill cosby, selma, ava duvernay, civil rights march, montgomery al, david oyelowo, grease, fox, live performance, julianne hough, vanessa hudgens, danny zuko, batman, dc comics, ben mckenzie, donal logue, american sniper, 105.2million, clint eastwood, bradley cooper, unbroken, angelina jolie, kids, sports, super bowl, katy perry, idina menzel, john legend, half time show, chris kyle, navy seal, the view, barbara walters, rosie perez, abc, good morning america, good afternoon america, movies, oscar nominations, richard linklater, alejandro gonzalez i–‡rritu, j.k. simmons, emmanuel lubezki, patricia arquette, rap, eminem, gage garmo, bone cancer, rochester high school, musical, golden globe awards, boyhood, the grand budapest hotel, george clooney

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store