One and Only: American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard

Who can forget when Ruben Studdard warmed the hearts of Americans across the country and united Alabamians in support of his win on the second season of American Idol, FOX’s hit television talent search show, in May 2003? As a Birmingham native, he had the entire region wearing “205” shirts to show their support for him as he competed on the show. While on the show, he was dubbed “the Velvet Teddy Bear” by Gladys Knight, one of the show’s guest judges, because of his smooth voice and large girth. That unforgettable voice helped him triumph over his rival, fellow southerner Clay Aiken. To give us those so same warm feelings we had back in 2003, Studdard will perform at the city’s Live at the Plaza concert series on Friday, July 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Since his win on American Idol, Studdard has gone on to release six albums and has toured the country with the varied likes of Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, CeCe Winans and David Foster. The same year that he won American Idol, he received his first Grammy Award nomination and has received several other music award nominations at award shows such as the BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Image Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and the Soul Train Awards. He also competed on the popular weight-loss competition show, The Biggest Loser, in 2013.

The city council voted to direct an additional $10,000 toward Live at the Plaza to get Studdard to perform a free concert in Tuscaloosa. The popular R&B, pop, and gospel singer is no stranger to Tuscaloosa. He performed at the opening of McKenzie Court’s first phase in 2008 and Community Culture Fest at Holt High School on April 17, 2011. He then returned in July to help distribute supplies to victims of the tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. City leaders wanted to end this season’s Live at the Plaza with a big show to reward the people for making Live at the Plaza such a huge success.

Bring your coolers to the #OneandOnly Government Plaza and join the city as we end this season’s Live at the Plaza concert series with the American Idol Star Ruben Studdard!


Written by: Adrian Gee, TTS Public Relations Intern