Ruben Studdard was born in Frankfurt, Germany on September 12, 1978 and was living in Birmingham, Alabama at the time he started on American Idol. He started his music career early at the age of 3 when he began singing at his church, and continued to sing solos there as his Mom sang in the choir.
Ruben went to Alabama A&M university on a football scholarship where he majored in voice studies, joined the local chapter of Phi Mu Alfa Sinfonia, the men’s music fraternity of America, and sang with a Birmingham jazz and R&B band called Just A Few Cats. After college as he was pursuing a music career, a singer from the band invited him to join her in Nashville to audition for the 2003 season of American Idol. He would go on to become the second member of the American Idol Winners List.
Ruben Studdard Idol Audition
Ruben auditioned for Season 2 of American Idol in Nashville, Tennessee in October of 2002. The show aired from January 21 to May 21, 2003. In his audition, Ruben performed the song “Ribbon In The Sky” by Stevie Wonder. The judges were impressed with his voice and he got his ticket punched to Hollywood. Here is his Idol audition…
Ruben was one of 234 contestants that were invited to Hollywood week out of over 70,000 hopefuls that attended the auditions. A successful performance landed him in the semi-finals where he sang the song “Superstar” by Delaney & Bonnie, and landed himself a spot in the finals. You can see the entire list of finals members here: American Idol Finalists.
Ruben Studdard: American Idol Season 2
Ruben was a solid performer throughout the finals. His only close call was in the Top 5 round when he found himself in the Bottom 2 along with Trenyce. However, he escaped elimination and moved onto the Top 4, and would eventually be named the Season 2 American Idol. Below is a list of all the songs performed by Ruben Studdard through the finals rounds on the way to winning the title.
|Top 12||Motown||Baby I Need Your Loving||The Four Tops|
|Top 11||Movie Soundtracks||A Whole New World||Aladdin|
|Top 10||Country Rock||Sweet Home Alabama||Lynyrd Skynyrd|
|Top 9||Disco||Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love||Barry White|
|Top 8||Billboard #1′s||Kiss And Say Goodbye||The Manhattans|
|Top 7||Billy Joel||Just The Way You Are||Billy Joel|
|Top 6||Dianne Warren||Music Of My Heart||Gloria Estefan|
|Top 5||1960′s||Ain’t Too Proud To Beg||The Temptations|
|Top 5||Neil Sedaka||Breaking Up Is Hard to Do||Neil Sedaka|
|Top 4||Bee Gees||Nights On Broadway||Bee Gees|
|Top 4||Bee Gees||How Can You Mend A Broken Heart||Bee Gees|
|Top 3||Random Picks||Signed, Sealed Delivered I’m Yours||Stevie Wonder|
|Top 3||Random Picks||Smile||Charlie Chaplin|
|Top 3||Random Picks||If Ever You’re In My Arms Again||Peabo Bryson|
|Finale||Choice||A House Is Not A Home||Dionne Warwick|
|Finale||Choice||Flying Without Wings||Westlife|
The finals voting was extremely close between Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken who himself has gone on to a very successful career. There were over 24 million votes cast for the finale of the show, and Studdard won by only slightly more than a 1% margin. Here is the video of Ruben’s final performance…
Ruben Studdard: Post American Idol Career
Ruben has had a solid music career after becoming the 2003 American Idol. His first release after the show was a cover of the song “Flying Without Wings” by Westlife that he performed on the finale, and it debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 100. Here are the albums he has released to date.
- Soulful, 2003
- I Need An Angel, 2004
- The Return, 2006
- Love Is, 2009
It was announced in July, 2011 that he had signed a deal with Shanachie Entertainment and would be releasing a new album sometime in the fall of 2011.
Ruben Studdard has been nominated for numerous awards including an American Music Award, a Grammy, and 3 BET Music awards, and he won an Image Award in 2004 for Best New Artist.