2008 Power List: 39. Clay Aiken

Gay American Idol (Age: 30)

When Ellen came out to a national magazine it was a pioneering move. When Lance Bass did it, well, he knew a good idea when he saw one. But when Clay Aiken announced "I'm gay" on the cover of People, it was proof that a has-been's hunger for publicity is matched only by America's insatiable fag-scination. Was this a bombshell five years after the former American Idol had his 15 minutes, two years after the National Enquirer reported that he'd solicited sex in gay chat rooms? "You'd have to say good job for something that has so little news value," says Larry Gross, director of USC's Annenberg School for Communication. No one but a handful of Claymates was shocked—"I think it was all of five women who were still members of the Rock Hudson fan club," says Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood publicist who has advised numerous actors on coming out. Expect more shameless D-listers to crawl out of the woodwork and the closet. "The appetite is there," Bragman says. "The No. 1 thing people ask me is who's gay in Hollywood." Thanks to Gaiken, now we'll know who's gay on Hollywood Squares.


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