Stephen M. Silverman
June 02, 2003 10:00 AM

Clay Aiken may only have been the runner-up on “American Idol,” but the 24-year-old beanpole with the powerful delivery has a record contract — and some promising pre-sale numbers — to call his own.

Aiken has inked a deal with RCA records impresario Clive Davis, who has announced that producers and songwriters are already eager to work with the newly minted star, The New York Times reports.

And although Aiken’s latest single is not due out for more than a week (on June 10, to be exact), it already has been listed at No. 1 on the sales chart for the past two weeks.

Further math reveals that Aiken’s CD — a medley of “This Is the Night” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — is outselling Ruben Studdard’s pending single at a rate of 4-to-1, The Times notes.

Studdard, 25, took the “AI” crown on the FOX show’s finale May 21.

Aiken’s first full album is due out in August or September, and by then Aiken’s image should be clearly defined. Clay needs “to figure out what he’s going to be,” VH1 executive Rick Krim tells The Times.

During the course of the show, Aiken went from geek to smooth operator.

Meanwhile, in other “AI” news, the Hollywood Reporter says show host Ryan Seacrest, 28, will serve as the emcee of FOX’s “American Juniors,” a kiddie version of the talent hunt, which is set to premiere Tuesday.

Mirroring the grown-up “Idol,” the “Juniors” series will begin with two weeks of hourlong audition episodes. Audience voting is due to kick off June 17.

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