American Idol Flashback: Ruben Studdard Winner of Season 2
Rubeeeeeeeeeeen Studdard!! When I hear this name, I will always associate it with Ryan 'Seacrest Out' Seacrest, chanting it in this fashion. And I doubt that if you saw the title of this article, you read it any other way. It's Ruben's calling, his mantra. If I were to ever go to a show of his, I would most definitely shout out, "Rubeeeeeeeeeeeen Studdard!!" - before getting knocked in the ribs by the person standing next to me, that is.
Ruben Studdard was born in Germany, but soon moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where his parents were both teachers. He had a basic childhood, singing gospel in his church as a youngster. He majored in music at Alabama A&M University and decided to give himself five years to break into the biz. He soon auditioned for American Idol, due to encouraging by a friend, and his audition piece was Luther Vandross' "Superstar," a song that would shortly become acquainted with him and not the original artist. Ruben made it into the finals, and the number '205' soon became famous along with him. (It was his area code in Alabama...duh.) He was known as the "Velvet Teddy Bear," thanks to Gladys Knight, and his fan base grew rapidly. The number one complaint from said fans? Simon's criticisms. He often commented that Ruben did not look like a 'typical' American Idol - which, being that at this point there had only been one, seemed a bit odd - and that audiences wouldn't vote for him. Week after week, Ruben proved the Nasty British Man wrong, singing songs by Peabo Bryson, the Bee Gees, and Donny Hathaway. When the season finale aired, it was a huge debate - Ruben or Clay? Who was to win? Bets were gambled, friendships were lost and then finally, the name was uttered....Rubeeeeeeen Studdard!! He rose to fame as a large, cuddly man, with an incredible voice. After Idol he made three albums, received a 2006 Grammy nomination, and currently has six singles to his name, including the number one "Change Me," from his latest album, The Return. He may not have been the first, and he may not have been the most expected, but he has definitely done the 205 proud. -BuddyTV Staff Columnist