Idols Again: Studdard, Aiken Join Voices for Tour

WARREN, Ohio – Two decades after they rose to fame as the top competitors on “American Idol,” Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are again sharing the spotlight.

The two singers went down to the wire on Season 2 of the hit Fox singing competition, with Studdard taking first prize and Aiken the runner-up. The year was 2003.

Despite their rivalry, the two Southerners became good friends and have remained so over the years.

Last year, they teamed up for a national tour that has them singing covers of classic pop tunes. The tour will come to the Robins Theatre in Warren on Friday.

Fans should expect to hear Aiken’s rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Studdard’s soulful hit “Flying Without Wings” and more.

Since their “Idol” run, Studdard and Aiken have recorded a combined 12 albums, sold more than 8 million albums worldwide, toured the country 14 times, starred together on Broadway, won four Billboard Music Awards, an American Music Award and have been nominated for two Grammys.

In 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in Monty Python’s “Spamalot.”

He served nine years as a UNICEF ambassador, and in 2003 he co-founded what is now the National Inclusion Project to advocate and increase opportunities for children with disabilities. His television appearances include “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Days Of Our Lives” and “Law & Order: SVU” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Aiken also mounted an unsuccessful political campaign in 2014, when he ran for one of North Carolina’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Studdard – who acquired the nickname “Velvet Teddy Bear” during his “Idol” stint – received a Grammy nomination in 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.” In the years following” Idol,” he released six studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, “Soulful,” and the top-selling gospel follow-up, “I Need an Angel.”

Studdard toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama “I Need a Hug,” and in 2008 he starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of “Ain’t Misbehavin,” which spawned a Grammy-nominated soundtrack.

In November 2019, Studdard and Aiken returned to the Broadway stage for their “Ruben and Clay’s First Annual Christmas Show.”

Friday’s concert at the Robins Theatre will start at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $89 to $39 (plus applicable fees) and can be purchased at and the box office, 160 E. Market St.

Pictured at top: Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard perform during a recent concert.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.