October 19, 2004 09:00 AM

Clay Aiken has confirmed the dates and cities in which he will make some “Joyful Noise,” as his holiday concert tour is being called.

Backed by a full orchestra, the American Idol star, who played North Carolina State Fair in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., on Monday, will play the following dates:

Nov. 27: San Jose (Center for the Performing Arts)
Dec. 2: Sewell, N.J. (Commerce Bank Arts Center)
Dec. 4: Baltimore (Meyerhoff Symphony Hall)
Dec. 8: Lowell, Mass. (Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
Dec. 9: New York (Madison Square Garden Theatre)
Dec. 15: Clearwater, Fla. (Ruth Eckerd Hall)
Dec. 16: Melbourne, Fla. (Maxwell C. King Center)
Dec. 17-18: Atlanta (Symphony Hall)
Dec. 21: Cleveland (Palace Theatre)

The tour will be in support of Aiken’s upcoming Christmas album and his inspirational book, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, to be published by Random House on Nov. 16. In addition, Aiken’s Christmas TV special will air Dec. 8 on NBC.

The boyish crooner’s RCA debut, Measure of a Man, debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 nearly a year ago and has sold 2.6 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Yet even Aiken’s hometown paper, the Raleigh News, is wondering how he will fare on his large-scale national tour.

The Monday concert drew about 12,000 people, putting $200,000 into the tour’s coffers. So popular is Aiken at home that a matinee had to be added Monday to accommodate the demand – and both shows sold out fast. But Aiken’s Saturday concert at Paramount Carowinds amusement park outside of Charlotte, N.C., had seats still available a day before the performance.

“It’s kind of amazing to me that we could do so well in Raleigh and then, what, just 200 miles down the road, not be able to completely sell out yet,” Aiken, 24, told the paper.

Yet Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, which covers the concert-tour industry, observed: “He’s not selling out every city, but he’s doing respectable business for a new artist. Let’s face it, very few of the singers who have gone through American Idol have emerged as artists whose careers have lasted more than a few minutes. It’ll be interesting to see if we’re still talking about Clay Aiken a year from now.”

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