LOS ANGELES — Clay Aiken knows something about being down to the final two.
This time, though, it's not the "American Idol" title at stake, but the next single from Aiken's Measure of a Man.
"I've liked 'The Way' for a long time, and [now] I'm kind of swaying towards 'I Will Carry You,' " Aiken said at Sunday's American Music Awards, where he won the Fan's Choice Award (see "50 Cent, Luther Vandross Take Home Multiple AMAs; Many Artists Skip Out")."Both of those would be great. I think those are the two front-runners."
Aiken figured he would know his second single by now, but his record label pushed back the decision until next year.
"We kind of thought 'Invisible' would be done come the end of December, but it seems to continue to climb, so we're gonna ride it for a while," the 24-year-old former Raleigh, North Carolina, student explained. "We won't decide on the second single until we need one."
Before Measure of a Man shot straight to #1 for two weeks in October (see "Clay Aiken Takes #1 Slot On Billboard Albums Chart"), the crooner was already hyping "The Way," calling it a powerful song.
"It's definitely got some passion and feeling in it, which I think would be a nice contrast to 'Invisible,' " he said of the track, which was penned by Enrique Iglesias and Steve Morales. "It's a love song. It's about if you're in love with someone, you don't really need [a reason] — you just know that you are. You can't say, 'Well, it's because they've got great hair or because of their personality,' you don't really know what it is."
"The Way" is more of an authentic ballad, while "I Will Carry You" is a mid-tempo tune similar to "Invisible," not that the pace matters to Clay.
"I don't really have an affinity for either one. ... I think it's about the song and what it says," Aiken said Sunday. "A lot of the songs I really like are songs you have to emote with and have some feelings with and have a story, and that tends to be ballads. But there's a lot of stuff out there today that's up-tempo and still has a message to it."
Aiken is lining up a tour for next year, and in the meantime he can been seen on the "American Idol Christmas" special airing November 25. The recently released American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics features Aiken singing "The First Noel" and dueting with Kimberley Locke on "Silver Bells."
"The album was something that we wanted to make very traditional," Aiken said, "so we all picked a very traditional Christmas song. ... I think a lot of the Christmas albums that have come out in the past years have not been classic Christmas. They've been pop with Christmas lyrics. And this one really feels like Christmas."
As for Sunday's Fan's Choice Award, Aiken expressed surprise and gratitude but had little planned in terms of celebration. "I'm not a big party person, so I'm sure I'll probably celebrate with my mom on the phone or something like that," he said.