clay aiken the runner up clip

*He was the runner-up to Ruben Studdard on “American Idol” and the runner-up to Arsenio Hall on “Celebrity Apprentice.” So naturally, the title of Clay Aiken’s new documentary series following his failed Congressional campaign to represent North Carolina’s 2nd District is called…“The Runner-Up.”

Premiering on Esquire Network tonight (April 7) at 10 p.m., the show captures the entirety of his campaign, including his decision to run, the primary election shocker (his Democratic opponent died) and his defeat this past November to incumbent Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.

As a gay man running for election in the conservative state, Aiken expected to encounter his share of homophobic rhetoric. He didn’t, however, anticipate it would come from Democrats as well.

“There was a little bit of underground whispering within the African American community about me being gay,” Aiken told “Ironically, that happened on the Democrat side during the primaries, people who should have been a little more supportive about that type of thing.”

Below, Aiken claps back at the backlash he received from within the gay community – from those who felt he distanced himself from LGBT issues in order to get elected:

Below, a clip from “The Runner-Up,” premiering Tuesday, April 7 at 10 p.m. on Esquire Network: