HOMETOWN ENTERTAINMENT: Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard to bring their “Ruben and Clay Twenty/The Tour” to Roanoke

Fans can catch the duo at the Jefferson Center Friday, May 5 at 8 pm.
The dynamic duo from "American Idol" season 2 are on their 20th anniversary tour
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 5:55 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been 20 years since we first met singer Clay Aiken, a young contestant from North Carolina on the second season of “American Idol.”

Aiken finished in second place in 2003 behind winner Ruben Studdard.

Now the two are on tour together, with a stop in Roanoke next month.

“What this 20 tour is really about looking back at 2003, and sort of reminiscing,” says Aiken.

Aiken has good reason to feel nostalgic; 2003 was a HUGE year for him. He says he and the other “American Idol” contestants that year had no idea how high the stakes were.

“None of us knew it was the behemoth hit that it was, until after it was over. We were cloistered, and we didn’t see how big it had become,” says Aiken.

During that season, Aiken became fast friends with fellow contestant and eventual winner Ruben Studdard.

“I think because we were so different, we got along very well. And it’s really, truly authentically friends. I mean, we’re brothers. We call each other brother now,” says Aiken.

After the show, Aiken’s career skyrocketed. His first single, “This is the Night” debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

He quickly had to learn how to navigate the ups and downs of fame.

“In some weird, interesting sort of way, everything since then has been downhill--(laughter) I don’t mean it in a bad way. But you know when the very first thing you ever do is watched by 40 million people on live TV and your first single goes to number one and your first album goes too, it’s hard to top that,” he says.

But Aiken says he never tried-- he just kept going.

Over the past two decades, Aiken spent years on tour, appeared on Broadway in “Spamalot” and even ran for Congress twice in North Carolina.

Through it all, he and Ruben stayed close.

“The only times I’ve been willing to get back onstage is when Ruben said he wanted to do something,” says Aiken.

Now’s your chance to see the dynamic duo.

“Ruben and Clay Twenty/The Tour” is coming to the Jefferson Center next month.

The North Carolina native says he’s a big fan of the Roanoke Valley.

“I would be remiss if I did not mention that Roanoke may be one of the most beautiful cities in America. But I think everybody who lives there already knows that,” says Aiken.

Aiken says the tour will feature him and Ruben singing songs and sharing stories from the show that forever shaped his life.

“It was an experience that I just absolutely loved and enjoyed,” says Aiken.

For a link to buy tickets, click here.