As much as we all love to make fun of Clay, the sad truth of the matter is that, vocally, he is a better "singer" than Timberlake, when using the standard, classical definition of a trained "singer".
Yeah, Timberlake can sing. Damn well. But put him on a stage and ask him to sing something that's NOT pop, and that doesn't require a team of sound engineers for post-processing, and he'd fall apart. Just doesn't have the chops. Aiken does.
Do I LOVE Aiken? No. Is he the pinnacle of good vocal study? No. But I think he deserves props for being a good "singer". And he deserves props for NOT trying to be like Timberlake. Every young male that sings pop music sounds just like him. A thin, strained tone, and nasal timbre. The LAST thing we need is another male pop singer like Timberlake. Give me someone that realizes he has a chest voice and knows how to use the damn thing! LOL!
And I would agree with the Manilow comparison, except that Manilow WROTE all those fabulous songs we know and love. Aiken's just a songbird.