EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 9, 2014

'Idol' runnerup Ruben Studdard faces reality

MINNEAPOLIS — Ruben Studdard went from the biggest winner to the biggest loser.

No, that’s not a dis. It’s reality. Well, reality TV.

He won “American Idol” in 2003 (sorry, Clay Aiken), and last fall, he landed on “The Biggest Loser,” dropping 119 pounds but, alas, not making it to the finals in February.

So which of those TV shows was more important in his life?

“I most definitely have to say ‘American Idol,’ “ said Studdard. “There would have come a time in my life when I would have had to deal with my health issues whether I was on a sick bed or passed out somewhere. I thank God that wasn’t the case. I think ‘American Idol’ was so important to me because it helped me have faith in the impossible.”

Losing all that weight — he was 462 pounds when he jumped on the scales for “Biggest Loser” last October — has enabled to make it through the off-stage tasks.

“The weight loss most definitely gives me the energy to do the things that I have to do both before and after the show,” the 6-foot-3 singer said. “Most people don’t understand that our jobs don’t end after we get off of the stage. There are meet-and-greets and CD signings and things people expect in addition to the performance that I have to do.”

He’ll need the endurance, touring with fellow R&B star Lalah Hathaway.

“We’ll do some duets, we’ll some songs separately, we’ll bring each other off and on the stage,” Studdard said from Malaysia, where he was performing with hitmaker David Foster. “I think people will love our voices together.”

Studdard will focus on material from his new and probably best-reviewed album, “Unconditional Love,” a collection of love songs belonging to his parents’ generation, produced by Foster, the maestro behind Celine Dion and Josh Groban.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Photos of the Week