‘American Idol’ Legends Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Make Pitch To Replace Katy Perry, Want to Channel Their Inner Simon Cowell

Back in 2003, fans gathered around their televisions to watch the finale of American Idol. With the competition down to Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, nearly 24 million votes were tallied. Winning by only 134,000 votes, Studdard found himself standing alongside Kelly Clarkson as the next American Idol. Although it has been two decades since Aiken and Studdard competed, the two remain extremely close. And with American Idol in need of a new judge after Katy Perry leaves, it appears the two alums have some ideas of their own. 

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Since Perry announced her exit from American Idol, fans and even judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan discussed who should replace her. While there have been countless suggestions, the producers of American Idol have remained silent on the matter. But speaking with E! News, Studdard suggested himself as the replacement. “I would love it if they called me.” He added, “But I think that in any way that I can go back and give advice to the young people that are going through the show, I do that readily and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that anytime.”

[RELATED: Clay Aiken Opens up About His Friendship With Ruben Studdard: “We Never Left Each Other’s Side After American Idol”]

The One Thing ‘American Idol’ Needs More Of According To Clay Aiken

As for Aiken, he also opened up about helping judge the next season of American Idol. And while not one for confrontation, the singer admitted, “I would be tough. I got a teenager now.” 

Having to deal with the criticism of Simon Cowell, Aiken suggested the younger generations of performers needed more constructive feedback. “I think that if there’s something that maybe the younger generations could use some of is some constructive feedback, because I think the goal of Idol is to make sure that every kid who is on it improves and becomes as successful as Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard. That’s only possible if you really get constructive feedback.” 

With American Idol on its 22nd season, Studdard revealed why he believed the show gained such popularity over the years. “People really enjoy having a hand in helping someone else’s dreams come true. And people at Idol do such a great job of pulling you into the young people’s personal stories and backgrounds.” 

 (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

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