Despite landing in the Bottom 2 a few weeks ago, Ruben Studdard was named the second American Idol last night. I’ve seen 130,000, 13,000 and 1,300 all listed as the difference in votes between Ruben and Clay (with Ryan Seacrest using the 1,300 figure at the end of the show). E! claims it’s 130,000, which is still a pretty narrow gap out of 24 million votes. It’s hard to say how accurate the vote was, given that I had tried calling in Tuesday evening and kept getting a busy signal (I finally just sent a text message).
Ruben and Clay are both excellent singers, so the winner of the competition is slightly symbolic: they’ve both got record deals. And, if they do half as well as Kelly Clarkson, who was awarded a platinum album certification last night, that’s not too shabby.
Personally, I think American Juniors is a bad idea. Fox will squeeze all of the life out of American Idol before its time. There’s plenty to keep AI on people’s minds: Kelly’s second single, Justin’s single and album, the Kelly/Justin movie, Ruben’s single and possibly Clay’s, if they decide to release one. That seems like plenty of exposure, and Juniors seems like Fox is just trying to bridge their revenue between seasons of AI.
One final note: Simon Cowell reportedly wants to return to England to produce. That’s a shame, because he’s the judge that everyone heard the most. You always had to wonder what he would say. His comment to Carmen Rasmussen was the most over the top: “you’re like that little girl who gets up at the end of the party to sing a song, and the parents are telling her to shut up!”. Comments extreme as that one aside, Simon really did push people to excel and he said his bit to ensure that talent won over image.