Clay Aiken – The Finale

With three performances each, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard showed the world their singing prowess on the Finale of American Idol, Season II.  The competition, held on May 19, 2003 was the last chance to swing the final votes over to their side. Their performances blew the roof off the place.

The performances for the night were:

Round 1
1. Ruben Studdard–“A House Is Not A Home”
2. Clay Aiken– “This Is The Night”

Round 2
1. Ruben Studdard, “Imagine”
2. Clay Aiken–“Here There and Everywhere”

Round 3
1. Ruben Studdard– “Flying Without Wings”
2. Clay Aiken–“Bridge Over Troubled Waters”

Ryan Seacrest started the show by stating that it started with 70,000 contestants and came down to two southern boys who are the most unlikely people in the world to be there.  He also reminded the audience that they would have 3 hours to vote and how important the vote is this evening.

After a video journey of Ruben’s American Idol trip, Ruben sang “A House Is Not A Home.”  Paula and Simon were excited about the performance, but Simon only said “it was good.”

Clay’s video journey was shown and then he sang his new single, “This Is The Night.”  The judges were impressed with Clay’s singing; however, Randy thought the song was terrible.

In the second round, the audience got Lennon and McCartney performed by Clay and Ruben.  Ruben’s interpretation of “Imagine” was all positive to the judges; however, no mention was made of the microphone malfunction that lasted throughout the entire first verse.

Clay sang “Here, There and Everywhere.”  The judges comments ranged from …you are still the bomb to very pretty to not blown away.  The lighting for this song was odd and many people thought it made Clay look “scary.”

The final round of the night was amazing.  Singing “Flying Without Wings,” the judges and the audience delivered an outstanding performance.  The judges commented that it was the best performance of the night.

Clay then performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and did a tremendous job.  Accompanied by a choir, Clay knocked the song out of the park.  It left all three judges with big smiles on their faces.

The night produced beautiful performance, two very different vocal styles, and both performers left it all on the stage.

The next night started with a red carpet and ended with the crowning of a new American Idol.  The last night was a 2-hour show so there was a lot of “filler.”  Ryan joined Ruben in his dressing room and showed both Ruben and the audience the cheering throngs in Ruben’s hometown.  Ruben was his cool self.

Ryan dashed across the hall to visit Clay in his dressing room.  He introduced Clay’s fans in Raleigh.  There were over 8,000 people in the RBC Center to cheer and support Clay.  Clay seemed shocked and amazed by the support.

The evening was filled with celebrities who had to give their opinions, former idol performances, goofy films of the judges and much prattle from Ryan.

A medley of songs was performed by all the finalists which included songs originally performed by the celebrity judges.

Then Ruben, Kimberley Locke, and Clay performed a medley of “Superstar,” “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and “On the Wings of Love,” respectively.

Ruben performed “Flying Without Wings” with the choir again. Then, Ryan took us back to Birmingham, at Ruben’s church. They were very proud.

Clay performed “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.  Then, it was back to Raleigh. They were proud, too.

Finally, Ryan said “it’s the closest vote in American Idol history, the American Idol is…….Ruben Studdard.”

In all reality, there were 2 winners that night.  Both of the singers were talented young men who were ready to step into the world of pop music.  And, as we all know, coming in second just didn’t matter.

Enjoy the videos of Clay’s performances and then watch the group numbers from the finale.




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  1. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. That was a great finale. Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard were fabulous and I'm so happy they are still friends. That was the best season ever!

  2. Randy said Here, There & Everywhere was a “safe” choice. Did he listen to the song? The vocal range in that song is amazing. It IS sweet and pretty and a lessor singer than Clay Aiken, singing live, would have murdered it.

    I absolutely loved AI2 – best season that I watched (although I stopped watching midway through AI5). I miss the simplicity of the first three seasons and wonder how some of the current contestants would fare with just a recorded music track, no background singers and no special effects/lighting. It would make things interesting!!

    Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane!!

  3. Iloved the 3 song choices. Each showed something different about his vocals. The range, the soft side and the ability to shake the roof with apparent ease. He didn’t even break a sweat on Bridge over Troubled water. Some artists seem to “gather it all together and look like they’re praying when they go for the big note. He looked like he was happily anticipating that big note!

  4. Thanks for the reminders of that night. Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard were both outstanding and are both true idols.

  5. The variety of the songs Clay and Ruben sang that night demonstrated their vocal abilities. AI 2 was still an innocent time with idol before we knew the machinations of the powerful idol machine.

  6. Thanks for the memories! I really enjoyed all the videos. Clay was amazing that night! I loved Clay and Ruben together! It is so great that they are still such close friends!

  7. The two guys, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard are still very, very popular and successful. They have both accomplished so much and have bright, fulfilling careers ahead of them.

  8. Wonderful blog! Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard were fabulous that night.
    Thank you for the videos of all the performances, a treat to see them again.

  9. Nothing AI every does will match that night. Both guys were outstanding. The performance of BOTW that night is my all time favorite of any Clay Aiken performance.

  10. What a trip down memory lane! Thank you for the terrific writeup of that finale and the exciting videos. Clay Aiken is still going strong and that was still the best AI season and finale ever!

  11. This was defenitely my Clay favorite night, I loved all the songs but when he sang BOTW I was more then ever in love with the voice and the man.
    Thanks for all the great videos!

  12. Thanks for posting the videos, I loved re watching them. What a voice. He just keeps getting better too.

  13. This was the BEST finale EVER. I never get tired of watching the videos.Clay’s BOTW still gives me goosebumps.WOW!Season 2 was the best of all the seasons.I have yet to see a season where the group songs sounded better.

  14. Clay’s performance of BOTW to this day is still my fave AI performance. I like the finales now with the big name stars, but Clay and Ruben didn’t need to bring in other stars because they were big enough stars on their own.

  15. I love Clay’s low notes. The LOW NOTES at 0.41 for both “Here, There & Everywhere and BOTW” is my fav. The new album doesn’t seem to have a lot of low notes. I need some LOW NOTES fixes!!

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