Fifteen years after going head-to-head in the season 2 finale of American Idol, champ Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken will share a stage again in a new holiday-themed Broadway show

By Dave Quinn
October 18, 2018 02:35 PM
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Once, they divided America. But this holiday season, they unite us all.

Fifteen years after going head-to-head in the season 2 finale of American Idol, champ Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken will share a stage again in a new holiday-themed Broadway show.

The pair will co-headline Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carole Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, a three-week limited engagement holiday spectacular that promises classic holiday tunes as well as comedic scenes and sketches.

“Christmas is about family, friends and fun,” Studdard, 40, said in a statement about the show — dubbed Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show for short. “Clay and I can’t wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!”

It’ll be the first time Studdard and Aiken, 39, have performed together on a stage of this size since Idol in 2013. The two had previously reunited for the first time since Idol back in 2016, for a special duet on The View.

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard
Mark Hill

Since Studdard bested Aiken on Idol, by only 134,000 votes out of the 24 million cast, both have both gone on to find respective success in the music industry.

Studdard has released seven studio albums including this year’s Ruben Sings Luther, a tribute album to the late Luther Vandross. Aiken — who previously appeared on Broadway before in Monty Python’s Spamalot — has also released seven studio albums, but walked away from music after 2012’s Steadfast to focus on a campaign for Congress in North Carolina.

They’ve also remained friends. “People always seem so surprised when they hear that we are still such good friends,” Aiken explained on Instagram earlier this month. “Easily the best thing to come directly out of [Idol] for me was this friendship turned kinship.”

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard
KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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

Performances for Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show begin at New York City’s Imperial Theatre on Dec. 7 and will continue through Dec. 30. Opening night is set for Dec. 11. Tickets are available now.

In true holiday spirit, a portion of all proceeds will go to benefit the National Inclusion Project, the leading voice for the inclusion of children with disabilities.