Workforce Ruben versus Workforce Clay? Nah, American Idol stars Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken say their present only a celebration of a 20-year friendship

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It could be comprehensible if followers assumed that Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard’s relationship was primarily based on pleasant however fierce competitors.

The 2 reality-TV stars famously went head-to-head within the second season of American Idol 20 years in the past. In a end that some discovered controversial, Studdard narrowly beat Aiken for the highest spot by 140,000 votes out of a complete 24 million. There have been tales about an overwhelmed cellphone system which will have impacted the voting course of and a few of Aiken’s followers weren’t shy about voicing their annoyance. 

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When selling the Calgary cease of the Ruben & Clay: Twenty tour on the Jack Singer Live performance Corridor on its web site, Arts Commons even asks “Whose group have been you on, Workforce Ruben or Workforce Clay?”

It makes for story. However in an interview with Postmedia, Aiken says he didn’t actually see Studdard, or anybody else, because the competitors again in 2003. Whereas that second season was clearly a private milestone within the lives each singers, it was additionally a turning level for the sequence. The primary season did effectively sufficient to be renewed and would ultimately assist flip winner Kelly Clarkson right into a celebrity. However Clarkson’s debut album wasn’t launched till the second season was nearing its finish. Nobody who auditioned after which competed in Season 2 had any inkling that the present would have the ability to launch a music profession, a lot much less a wildly profitable one. Season 1 had 9 million viewers, which paled compared to Season 2’s 40 million. Sure, looking back, the stakes have been excessive, it’s simply that the rivals didn’t essentially notice it on the time.

Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard will carry out with fellow American Idol alumnus Clay Aiken at Calgary’s Jack Singer Live performance Corridor. Courtesy, Arts Commons. jpg

“All of us went into it with a really totally different mindset than I believe the individuals who did it after us did,” says Aiken, in an interview alongside Studdard with Postmedia. “If you happen to’re in Season 3 — Fantasia (Barrino) and Diane DeGarmo — you’ve seen Kelly have hundreds of thousands of album gross sales. You’ve seen Season 2 have 40 million viewers,” he says, noting these contestants had seen that the present may make your profession.

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“We didn’t notice that, I don’t assume. All of us went on considering we’re going to get some connections, we’re going to satisfy some folks, we’re going to have some enjoyable; possibly we’ll get an album we are able to make. They only weren’t the stakes to set us as much as be rivals and we simply grew to become good pals. All of us needed to win, however we grew to become good pals with the individuals who have been on the present with us as a result of we didn’t notice that it may change our complete lives.”

Studdard provides, “Having been concerned in so many competitions, on a smaller scale for positive, over my entire life, I actually didn’t anticipate it to be the juggernaut that it was. For me, I actually simply needed a document produced. I obtained way more than I bargained for.”

It was a juggernaut, in fact, and it perpetually modified the trajectory of their lives. Each went on to have profitable music careers and Aiken even briefly dabbled in politics. It additionally turned them into life-long pals. In 2010, the pair teamed up for a tour that discovered them buying and selling songs, tales and jokes on stage. They aren’t reinventing the wheel for the 2023 model, however Aiken says it’s a present particularly designed to stir nostalgia in followers and convey them again to these heady days in 2003 when Aiken and Studdard each grew to become unlikely pop stars. Judging from evaluations of earlier reveals on the tour, the setlist is a crowd-pleasing mixture of all the things from American Idol-era staples — equivalent to Studdard’s tackle Luther Vandross’ Famous person and Aiken’s show-stopping model of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water — to Bee Gees covers, Motown hits and a section devoted to a medley of boy-band hits.

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Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken will carry out with fellow American Idol alumnus Ruben Studdard on the Jack Singer Live performance Corridor. Courtesy, Arts Commons. jpg

“It’s actually like wanting again at your high-school reunion,” Studdard says. “It’s the identical fond reminiscences, I really feel, that you’d have when you have been speaking about highschool or school.”

Aiken provides, with fun, “My Idol reminiscences are far fonder than my high-school reminiscences.”

All of it means that each see their American Idol experiences as optimistic. However additionally they each admit that having fame arrive so rapidly and forcefully was usually bewildering.

“It positively takes some getting used to,” Studdard says. “It was not very comfy at first and generally it’s not comfy now. It’s what comes with being part of one thing so monumental.”

Aiken says, “I don’t assume both of us dealt with it poorly. We have been each, in a approach, lucky sufficient to not grow to be a family title till we have been in our mid-20s. We have been outdated by the usual of American Idol these days. We have been 24 after we did it. Of us after us have been 16. We had a bit of bit extra life expertise. However it ain’t all the time simple and I’d say for the primary a number of years, for me, I wouldn’t go away the home. It occurs so rapidly and so in a single day. Once we each went house — for the jiffy we have been in a position to go house after Idol was over — we couldn’t go wherever with out folks realizing who you have been. I do know Ruben had the identical factor, folks would pull up a seat at your dinner desk at a restaurant and simply sit down and discuss. Not solely have been we family names, we have been family names that folks put in that place. They picked up the cellphone they usually voted they usually gave us these alternatives. So there was plenty of possession that folks had in us. That grew to become troublesome to course of. Twenty years later, I believe we’ve a greater grasp and higher deal with on it however, he’s proper, generally I nonetheless can’t get used to it.”

Arts Commons presents Ruben & Clay: Twenty on the Jack Singer Corridor on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

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