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

While Kelly Clarkson walked away as the original American Idol, season two of the hit show welcomed a new series of aspiring singers that included Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. Back in 2003, the pair continuously battled it out as fans cheered on their favorite artists. But in the end, Studdard walked away at the next American Idol. And although it has been over 20 years since they competed, both Studdard and Aiken remain close friends. Their connection to American Idol is so strong that Aiken wondered how other seasons don’t remain in touch. 

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Speaking with TooFab, Studdard and Aiken discussed their friendship not with just each other but with the whole cast of season two. Studdard revealed, “We keep in touch with our whole season. Everybody that was in our season that made the finale, and the producers from our season and the people that worked in the background, like Meghan Michaels, who’s now an executive.” He added, “She was working with us when we were all starting together. So, it was just great.”

Explaining as to why season two contestants were so close, Aiken said, “We were the only season to all live in a house together. We were one of the only seasons to go on tour together afterwards. They certainly did tours for a few other seasons, but not as extensively as our season was. We just stayed in touch because of that. We all went into a show that — in a different time.”

[RELATED: Jennifer Hudson and Clay Aiken Left Heartbroken Over the Death of ‘American Idol’ & ‘The Voice’ Coach]

From ‘American Idol’ To ‘The Masked Singer’

Still, even with the production changing over the years, Aiken continued, “How could you possibly go through that experience and not stay in touch with everybody who was involved?” He continued, “Some of the other runners-up had not even spoken to their winner since their season was over. And I was like, ‘What the? How is that even possible?’ Ruben and I traded numbers day one and they’ve never left our phones. We never broke up. We never left each other’s side after [American] Idol.”

Finding themselves performing on The Masked Singer, Aiken and Studdard seemed all smiles about their time on the show. Aiken insisted he didn’t even look at it as a competition. “I never looked at Masked Singer as a singing competition. It is a stupidly brilliant show that is just so unique. And obviously what draws people into Idol is the competition aspect of it, what draws people into Dancing With the Stars is the competition aspect of it. Masked Singer — I think people are drawn into the mystery part of it. Not the competition part of it.”

(Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

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