Clay Aiken Says ‘American Idol’ Champion Convinced Him Into New Tour

Clay Aiken

Heavy/Getty Clay Aiken

Longtime “American Idol” fans have had the privilege to once again watch season two standouts Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken perform on the same stage during their “Twenty Years: One Night” tour.

The two singers competed against each other in 2003 and they made it all the way to finale night when Studdard took home the trophy and Aiken placed as runner-up. Fast forward 20 years and the two friends have performed together on nearly 20 nights since beginning the tour in Troy, New York, on April 12.

Ahead of their May 6 show in Atlanta, Georgia, the “American Idol” legends spoke with Atlanta Daily World about their time singing under the lights and how the anniversary tour came together. According to Aiken, it was Studdard who got the balling rolling on their reunion, who argued it was “the perfect time” to hit the road.

“Ruben did the lifting to get it to happen,” Aiken said. “So I have to tell you that Ruben talked me into it. We stopped performing for about 10 years or so. And I talked him into doing a show on Broadway back in 2018. And he said, ‘You know what, listen, it’s our 20th anniversary come on let’s get back on the road.’ We realized folks are really sort of hungry for nostalgia. Right now. They’re very interested in things that are safer and familiar. And so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.”

Aiken Joked That the Tour Has Made Them ‘Feel Old’

Considering it’s been two decades since Studdard and Aiken gained stardom on the then-Fox competition show, their “Twenty Years: One Night” show has attracted fans of all ages. And the fact that some of their fans watched season two when they were children hasn’t gone unnoticed by Aiken.

“It’s kind of fun, but it makes us feel a little old [laughs],” Aiken said. “But the audience is very diverse when it comes to age. And they’re coming with signs and T-shirts. It’s surreal to think that there are people who were kids when we were on ‘American Idol’ and are now grown. But we also have a whole new generation wanting to see us now. Ruben was very smart to want to do this tour.

Both Aiken and Studdard are 44 years old and they were in their mid-20s when they appeared on “American Idol.”

Studdard Is Elated With the Fan Base That Has Shown Up for Their Shows

Studdard also shared his thoughts about how he and Aiken have been able to “connect generations” with their new tour.

“I think it’s really wonderful,” Studdard said. “There aren’t very many artists who can connect generations. ‘American Idol’ was so special because it gave people the opportunity to sit around the television with family as a collective.

“And so there are young whose first memories as a child was watching Clay and I on ‘American Idol.’ There are people who watched the show when they were four and five and they’re now in their 20s. So it’s just been great to see the reaction that people have and the kind of family-oriented camaraderie that our show gives.”