"American Idol's" second season runner-up Clay Aiken has his own idea of what the show should do to replace departing judge Simon Cowell.
"I've always thought it would be a great addition to the panel to have someone who's a former contestant and knows what it's like to be up on that stage and be critiqued," Aiken tells Billboard.com. So is he raising his hand? "Well, I'm so far removed from it at this point that I don't know if I remember what it's like, but who knows. I would not put myself out there to be as caustic as (Cowell) is, but if they want to call me, bring it on. We can talk."
Aiken, however, has plenty of singing to do before having that discussion. The North Carolina-based singer released his fifth album, "Tried & True," on June 1; the collection of pop standards -- including "Unchained Melody," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Misty," "Mack The Knife" and "Moon River" (with Vince Gill) -- marks his first release away from the "American Idol" enclave of 19 Recordings and Sony Music (he's now with Decca), and Aiken feels it shows the measure of the man better than his previous releases.