Ruben Studdard Biography:
Christopher Ruben Studdard was born on September 12, 1978 in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the youngest of the family, with both his parents working as teachers. He started singing at church when he was only three years old, and continued to perform with the choir as he got older. While attending Huffman High School, Ruben was also a football player, and his athleticism earned him a scholarship from the Alabama A&M University. In 2000, he graduated with a degree in voice studies and from there showed off his talent to a bigger audience by performing with Just a Few Cats, a well-known Birmingham jazz and R&B band. Rubben is a big fan of R&B and Gospel music, and he names Donna Hathaway as his own American Idol.
Ruben was accompanying another singer for Just a Few Cats to her audition in Nashville, Tennessee, when he decided to try out for the competition himself. He chose to sing Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky." His smooth voice and loveable personality quickly propelled him to the Finals, where he won America's hearts with his renditions of "Kiss and Say Goodbye," "Just The Way You Are," "Superstar," "A Whole New World," "Music of My Heart," "Smile," "Flying Without Wings," and "A House is Not A Home." Throughout the course of the show, Rubben was often referred to as "Velvet Teddy Bear" and was known for wearing shirts with the area code of Birmingham in the front. On the eleventh week of the Finals, Ruben became the second American Idol winner, with 134,000 more votes than his competitor Clay Aiken.
A month after the season finale, Ruben's rendition of Westlife's "Wind Beneath My Wings" was released as his debut single. The single came out at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His first album, Soulful, came out at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album chart, and the single Sorry 2004 from the album reached #9 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard R&B Singles Charts. Ruben was also a Grammy award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2003 and the following year received an NAACP award for Outstanding New Artist. His gospel album, entitled I Need An Angel became #1 on the Gospel Charts, # 20 on the Billboard 200 chart and #1 on the 2005 Billboard Year-End Gospel Albums Chart. His third album, The Return, opened at #8 in the Billboard 200 chart. In 2005, Ruben was involved in legal matter, and although he came out the victor, the effects of the incident have made it difficult for him to purchase a home.
In 2013, he became one of the cast members of The Biggest Loser Season 15.
However, he was eliminated during the Halloween-themed episode.