Clay Aiken to host ‘Wheel of Fortune’ live at Hancher

On Oct. 26, former ‘American Idol’ star and political figure Clay Aiken will return to Iowa City to host ‘Wheel of Fortune Live!’ at Hancher Auditorium.


Photo taken by Mark Hedrick.

Parker Jones, Arts Editor

Spinning the wheel, answering puzzles, and winning cash — the classic game show “Wheel of Fortune” will energize Hancher Auditorium audience members Wednesday night.

Currently on a tour around the country, the live edition of the game show is hosted by TV personality Mark L. Walberg and former American Idol participant Clay Aiken. However, Aiken will host Hancher’s edition of Wheel of Fortune.

Aiken won second place on American Idol in 2003, with his debut album going multi-platinum shortly afterward. Now, he is a Democratic political candidate and activist in his home state of North Carolina. His last visit to Iowa City was in 2017 to host an episode of ABC’s “The View” at West High School.

“The college towns are the best ones actually, because the college student audiences are by far the best audience,” Aiken said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “It’s just very interactive … I love the small college town vibe, anywhere we go.”

Audience members will be randomly selected to spin the wheel, but attendees can purchase “VIP” tickets to have an increased chance, as well as unique activities before the show. Aiken said his favorite part of hosting “Wheel of Fortune Live!” is giving away the money and prizes, which can be up to 10 times the amount that a participant originally paid for a ticket.

“Honestly in all the things that I have done in the last 20 years, I would say this is the one that is the most fun and interesting and exciting,” Aiken said. “I’m giving people money every night in some way; Giving people money, giving people prizes, giving people trips to places, and I don’t have any risk of losing this, which is nice.”

At one of the event’s recent stops on tour in Rosemont, Illinois, Aiken gave away $2,500 and a trip to Paris to winners of the various puzzle games.

The event was not organized by Hancher staff but through a “rental” event put together by an outside promoter.

In an email to the DI, Communications Director for the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement Rob Cline wrote he is looking forward to welcoming an excited crowd for “Wheel of Fortune Live!” at Hancher.

“Working with outside promoters — as we’re doing in this case — allows us to broaden the kinds of performances and events that appear on the Hancher stage,” Cline wrote.