By EW Staff
Updated October 03, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

His future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades! At least that’s the opinion of the guiltless women who buried us under more than 300 letters about our Guilty Pleasure cover boy, Clay Aiken (#726, Sept. 5). ”Clay Aiken strikes an emotional chord like nobody else since Elvis Presley,” raves Linda East of Greensboro, N.C. ”Fans can’t get enough of him.” Witness the lovestruck ladies who envy everything even touched by their angel. ”I have never wanted to be a dog,” attests Linda Lanshe of Allentown, Pa., ”but looking at your pictures of Clay [kissing that puppy]…it’s a dog’s life for me!” Also on the canine front, reviewer Dalton Ross is in the doghouse with our north-of-the-border brethren for his negative critique of ”Canadian Idol” and his lack of familiarity with its frontman. ”Your magazine reinforces the stereotype of the xenophobic American who is ignorant of anything north of the 49th,” says John Emond of Ottawa. ”Host Ben Mulroney is the son of Canada’s former prime minister.” Beat that, Ryan Seacrest!

Redheaded Ranger

Yowza! Now, that’s a cover boy. Clay is just about the best thing to come along since sliced bread. Guilty pleasure? Only the part I have to explain to my husband! If Simon Cowell backpedaled any harder, he’d be back in Britain by now. He, most of all, misjudged Clay’s appeal completely. Thanks so much for the Clay cover and story. CINDY FILLION Port Burwell, Ontario

Here in Singapore, the magazine has not yet hit the stores and it’s already sold out because every copy in major bookstores has been reserved by Claymates. I have not read the article but have seen the pictureskudos for showing us the enthrallingly goofy yet breathlessly sexy side of Clay! KATHERINE TEO Singapore

For what surely must be the first time in history, millions of American women are now desperately jealous of a dog and a slice of watermelon, thanks to those delicious photos of Clay Aiken. No need to worry about his popularity with the postteenage crowd. Residence in a retirement home wouldn’t make this man safe from women. SARAH PEARL SHADE Allentown, Pa.

Thank you for your article on this refreshing young man. What a talent! By the way, I am a 52-year-old father of three and have a lot of male friends who like this guy too! It ain’t just the ladies. MARK GEISER Woodland, Calif.

I’m glad you put Clay Aiken on the cover — I’m happy to see him overexposed, because with each print and television interview, he reveals more of his true character. I have seldom seen someone less deserving be so full of himself, and I was a fan during the run of the show. He wants fans to leave him alone? Gladly! JULIE MEYER St. Louis

Buried Pleasures

I was amazed at how many of the Guilty Pleasures I could identify with. One I must add to the listClue, the movie. The hilarity of its outrageously talented comedic cast (including the late, great Madeline Kahn) and the biting one-liners that are so quotable to this day have withstood the test of time. PAUL CIESLEWICZ Las Vegas