About Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken
The year 2003 gave us many memorable events – there was shock and awe in Iraq, the “do not call list” was set in place, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California; Apple launched iTunes; and American Idol, in its second season, introduced the world to two unlikely Idols.
Not since Cain vs. Abel, David vs. Goliath, Coke vs. Pepsi or the PC vs. MAC, has a rivalry so split a nation and divided houses – Ruben vs. Clay. These two contestants battled it out, week after week, winning the hearts and votes of millions. While the outcome is still hotly debated on the worldwide web, Clay and Ruben have moved forward, remaining best of friends and colleagues.
After finishing a very close second on American Idol (depending on which cue card you read, Clay Aiken was somewhere between 1,300 and 130,000 votes shy of the title) Clay Aiken has gone on to become a fixture in American pop culture.
Clay’s debut CD, Measure of a Man (2003), shot to number one on the Billboard charts – garnering a double platinum certification after the first week’s sales. Aiken’s subsequent albums, Merry Christmas with Love (2004), A Thousand Different Ways (2006), On My Way Here (2008) and Tried and True (2010) all debuted in the Billboard Top 10.
Christopher Ruben Studdard (born September 12, 1978), is an American R&B, pop and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol and received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar”. In the years following Idol, Studdard has released six studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, Soulful, and the top-selling gospel follow-up, I Need an Angel. He is most well known for his recording career, which has produced hits including “Flying Without Wings”, “Sorry 2004”, and “Change Me”, but he has also segued into television and stage work. Most notably, he toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama I Need a Hug and in 2008 starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of Ain’t Misbehavin, which spawned a Grammy-nominated soundtrack.
Studdard most recently appeared on the fifteenth season of The Biggest Loser. He is signed to Verve Records and released his last album, Unconditional Love, on February 4, 2014. His most current release Ruben Sings Luther (a tribute to Luther Vandross) was released in the spring of 2018.
During the televised competition, Studdard gained the nickname “Velvet Teddy Bear” and was noted for his shirts printed with “205”, the telephone area code of his hometown of Birmingham. Studdard also did a cover version of “For All We Know”, originally recorded by Donny Hathaway, whose music he grew up with.
Alabama Governor, Bob Riley declared March 11, 2003 as “Ruben Studdard Day”. Ruben Studdard continues to tour in support of his tribute project, “Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross – Always & Forever, An Evening of Luther Vandross”. “Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross” continues to receive rave reviews across the country.
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