| Some of Aiken's fans have been referred to as "Claymates," a name that originated on the message boards during the second season of American Idol. However, the term is not embraced by all within the fandom and some portion of the group has been criticized at times as being obsessive, both in the media and by Aiken himself. In most cases, however, Aiken defends his fans as just being "enthusiastic". Another variation for Canadian fans is "Claynadians" and for Asian Clay fans, "Claysians." Male fans began their own group and call themselves "The ClayDawgs". The umbrella name including all of his many fan groups is "The Clay Nation." The fandom includes a wide range of ages.
Aiken was voted the Favorite Reality Star of 2003 by TV Guide readers, and “the most-loved reality star of all time” in a TV Guide poll conducted in the summer of 2005.
In February 2006 Aiken was voted "Favorite American Idol" by People Magazine with 69% of the vote.