‘American Idol’ To Broadway: Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken To Star In Christmas Spectacular

Cheryl A. Hoahing - Author

Oct. 18 2018, Updated 4:19 p.m. ET

On May 21, 2003, American Idol aired its Season 2 finale. The top two contestants vying to be named champion were total opposites Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. One was a large R&B powerhouse, the other a meek pop vocalist. With just 134,000 more votes, Studdard was crowned king.

Fifteen years later, the former rivals are joining forces to headline their very own Broadway limited engagement — Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show.

The holiday show — which will be staged at New York City’s Imperial Theatre from December 7 to 30 — will feature the odd couple singing holiday favorites, backed by a live band, and performing comedic sketches, according to a press release from the Shubert Organization.

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This will be the first time the two talented vocalists have shared a stage since that infamous 2003 American Idol finale.

“Christmas is about family, friends, and fun,” explained Studdard, aka the Velvet Teddy Bear. “Clay and I can’t wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!”

“There are really only two things that could get me back on stage after taking a break for over five years — my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas,” added Aiken.

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“It’s been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older, and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

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In keeping with the holiday spirit, portions of the three-week show’s proceeds will benefit the National Inclusion Project. The non-profit organization devoted to making sure that children with disabilities can participate in various community programs was co-founded by Aiken.

Since winning American Idol, 40-year-old Studdard has released seven studio albums, and has won several prestigious music awards. Additionally, from 2008 to 2009, he played Fats Waller in a revival tour of the musical Ain’t Misbehavin.

Aiken has also put out seven records, and he’s appeared in several television programs, including Season 5 of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. The 39-year-old is no stranger to the Broadway stage — in 2008 he was a cast member in Monty Python’s Spamalot. The author of the 2004 best-selling memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life also ran for Congress in North Carolina in 2014.

Tickets for the family-friendly Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show are available now via Telecharge.

For more details, visit the show’s official website at


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