Clay Aiken talks his new docu-series, ‘The Runner Up’

Clay Aiken isn’t so “invisible” anymore.

While I still love jamming to his 2003 hit single, Aiken has shed his music persona (for the time being, at least) to focus on his new docu-series, “The Runner Up,” that premiered on the Esquire Network last night.

The series details Aiken’s, 36, run for a North Carolina Congressional seat in 2014. We sat down with Aiken and talked about the show and, of course, his days on “American Idol.”

How did the docu-series come to be?

Right after I announced my run, my former manager when I was singing knew Jonathan Chinn. He convinced me that he would do this documentary well, and I told him that he’d have to convince everyone on my staff.

Are you nervous about watching yourself?

It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life!

Weirder than “Idol?”

Well, I didn’t watch “Idol,” since it was live! Watching myself on the documentary, while I’m being filmed cussing and in my underwear, was weird! It was a therapeutic process, being filmed every step of the way. I told everyone from the beginning that my priority is to run this campaign, and to run it well.

So did you always want to run for Congress?

I’ve always been interested in politics. I’m a political junkie. But I never had intentions to run for congress. But this was a need and I had a unique ability to bring peoples’ attention to politics, and I thought it was the right time to do it. And I don’t think it was the wrong time to do it, even ultimately having lost.

When you lost the race, what was that like?

We knew all along it would be tough. The district where I ran is a very, very Republican district. We knew it would be hard. So we decided to find our victory by bringing attention to some issues. I have a big mouth. We made a lot of people know that they matter.