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Clay Aiken's Debut Falls Flat

Clay Aiken (search), who got practice being a loser on "American Idol," (search) continues doing what he does best on his new CD, "Measure of a Man" (search) (which wasn't released to critics in advance).

On this limp collection of mid-tempo ballads, Aiken lives out his cabaret dreams with his white-bread, soulless voice that sends blue-haired ladies and children who don't know better into a titter.

Aiken doesn't miss notes or sing out of time: His performance on the dozen songs here is as perfect as a plastic Barbie doll - technically correct but out of proportion.

Take the bombastic title track "Measure of a Man."

Aiken opens the song with a refreshing, stark piano and voice arrangement - and immediately tears that down to build a full orchestral piece to which he oversings like a dinner-theater belter.

Aiken writes none of his material, so you can't blame him for the boy-band-like leftovers.

Aiken's pop has been force-fed to the public so often that many people actually started to like it, but the rest of us would be hard-pressed to leave the CD skip button alone.

For the best of this disc, check out the last tune, "Touch," with its upbeat reverberating surf guitars.


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