Clay Aiken came in second during his stint on "American Idol" in 2003, but now he's part of a totally different kind of popularity contest -- a bid for Congress.
Aiken is running for one of North Carolina's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first step of his campaign is the race's Democratic primary, set for May 6. If Aiken is victorious, he'll go head-to-head with the Republican nominee in the general election.
Running for office means Aiken has been talking a lot about the economy, education and tax reform. But when he sat down with HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill, he answered the most important question of all -- what's the difference between the election for the next "American Idol" and the next member of Congress?
"Unfortunately in running for Congress, and I think those who are in Congress right now, spend all their time trying to make the other side look bad instead of doing something good themselves, and that's the major difference between the two," he said.
Aiken added that what politicians can learn from "American Idol" is simple: candidates shouldn't consider tearing one another down as part of the process.
"I didn't win 'Idol.' Ruben Studdard beat me. But he didn't have to kick me off stage in order to do it. He didn't have to go and try to make me go off key," Aiken said. "He did his best, I did my best, and people chose who they wanted to vote for, and that's not how we do our elections nowadays."
See the full HuffPost Live conversation with Clay Aiken below.