Clay Aiken – A Little Late!

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Season 2 Finale on American Idol.  It is hard to realize that it has been 14 years since that fateful night.

To me, there were two winners that night.  Both Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard were amazing and ready to “Reach for the Stars.”

Let’s have a toast to the show that introduced Clay Aiken to the  world!!


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 20, 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 Randy 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.

WOW!  So much talent!

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3 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – A Little Late!

  1. You can never hear Bridge sung too many times. Always leaves you wanting more. Thanks for reminding us about this anniversary. ❤️ UNCONDITIONAL love for you Clay!

  2. I was on pins and needles, during the finale! Very upset that Clay didn't win! Questioned the voting and the decision! In the long run, I believe OMC was the "True American Idol"
    Thank you, CANN for the sharing the moment!

  3. I still have trouble watching the winner being named. I like Ruben, but that night was just so disappointing…at the time. I still can't watch Celebrity Apprentice when Clay came in 2nd again, because we all know…he clearly won that one as well. Oh well. We have just been so fortunate to have watched Clay grow and mature into the wonderful person that he is today. It's all good.

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