Ruben Studdard Joins ‘Biggest Loser’ But Can He Shed The Weight Safely?

Ruben Studdard, the larger-than-life singer who rose to fame as the winner of the second season of the Fox performance show American Idol, has now joined the cast of The Biggest Loser.

A previous report from The Inquisitr will give you all the details, including Studdard’s thoughts about why he wants to lose the weight now.

But the short version is that Ruben Studdard is slated to become The Biggest Loser’s first-ever celebrity contestant when the 15th season premieres on October 8.

It will be interesting to see how much he weighs in the opening weigh-in. We know that his weight was widely reported to be around 450 pounds in 2006.

That raises the question of whether or not Ruben Studdard can safely lose the weight he needs to without putting his health at risk.

Looking back at the history of The Biggest Loser, there have indeed been several men who weighed as much or more as Studdard will likely weigh. In the 7th season, Daniel Wright started at 475 pounds. And, even more impressively, in the 9th season Michael Ventrella started at 526.

In 2010 Ventrella went on to set a record and win the $250,000 grand prize after losing an astounding 264 pounds — an amazing weight loss of over 50 percent. That’s on a par with what people lose from gastric bypass surgery, rather than diet and exercise alone.

But did he keep the weight off? An update of previous winners by The Today Show after the 11th season said that he’d gained 37 pounds since his winning weight of 262 to put him at 289 pounds when they checked in with him. That’s still a significant improvement over the original 526 pounds.

While I can’t confirm his current weight, Ventrella is still active and apparently healthy. He has a lively Facebook page where he posts inspirations for diet and training. Here’s a portion of a statement from January:

“One of the biggest more important lessons I learned on the Biggest Loser helping me lose weight and being happy was RESPECT. Respect in so many ways. Respect for my body, life, others and most importantly myself as a person. You will be amazed on how much this matters…Pick yourself off the ground. Dust yourself off and fight back. Fight for your life. Fight for what you all naturally deserve.”

You know what? He’s right. It would be easy to be negative and full of doubts about Ruben Studdard’s chances on The Biggest Loser.

But Ventrella proved that it can be done, and it can be done safely.

Why can’t the same weight loss success happen on The Biggest Loser for Ruben Studdard?

[Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard compete on American Idol photo by Debby Wong /]