Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images Photo: Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken Smile at The Celebrity Apprentice Finale

Clay Aiken fought tooth and nail to make it to the final two on Celebrity Apprentice Season 5, but ultimately lost out to competitor Arsenio Hall, a feeling the American Idol runner-up is all too familiar with.

The final competition of the season pitted Arsenio and Clay against each other in creating a variety show — complete with a PSA —  to raise money for their charities, the Magic Johnson Foundation and The National Inclusion Project respectively.

At Clay’s carnival-themed show, guests were treated to Aiken’s own musical stylings as he belted out tunes like “Steps” and “Time of My Life” with the help from fellow Celebrity Apprentice contestants turned teammates Aubrey O’Day, Debbie Gibson and Dee Snider.  

“Singing is my thing, so that was the stressless part of the evening. I was set with that,” Clay told reporters on the red carpet immediately following the finale.

When asked if he was surprised that he didn’t take the title of Celebrity Apprentice, Clay was gracious in saying, “I’m sure there are people who would have been surprised if I had won. It’s kind of an either or thing, Arsenio and I and Reuben and I. Everybody wants someone to win and everybody expects somebody to win.”

Yet Clay also thinks that being a runner-up once before may have actually hurt his chances this time around.

“I think that we’ve seen Arsenio cry a lot this season and Mr. Trump knew that I could handle it because I’ve come in second before, and Arsenio cried so much that he didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” Clay dished

As for the most important lesson Clay took from his Celebrity Apprentice experience, he joked, “[ I learned] never to do a reality competition with a black guy, never again!

Props to Clay for having a sense of humor about the whole thing!

To donate to The National Inclusion Project click here!