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In any competition, when the receiver of second place or a runner-up ends up becoming more successful than the actual winner. This is open to interpretation, of course.
Typically associated with the case of Clay Aiken on American Idol, who didn't actually win, but who has become a more commonly-heard name than winner Ruben Studdard.
Billy ended up becoming a CEO, even though he got second place in the science fair in 4th grade. The first place winner, Paul, lives in his grandma's basement. This is an example of the Clay Aiken Effect.
by tad-pole May 19, 2011
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