Clay Aiken is one of the most popular American Idol contestants to not win the show, so much so that many people believe he actually won the show. The Raleigh, NC native, born near where fellow Idol star Scotty McCreery and Fantasia Barrino were born, he charmed fans in singing competitions all the way into the then-young show. While he came out as gay in 2008, there was rampant speculation even from his days on Idol, and he and his partner welcome their son that same year. His early demo tapes included contemporary Christian songs, as he was raised in the southern Baptist church. While his sexuality made being a part of the denomination difficult, he eventually found his way back there due to the connection to his past. He has since become a Christian voice in anti-bullying campaigns, and an important spokesperson for gay rights.