Special Correspondent (Season 2)
Tenth Place (Season 2)
Eleventh Place (Season 2)
Just like last year the Top 2 sang the final songs from the night before ("Flying Without Wings" by Ruben and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Clay) and also sang a duet. The duet was "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" by McFadden and Whitehead.
The Top 3 did a special medley where Ruben sang "Solitaire" by The Carpenters, Kimberley sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland, and Clay sang "On the Wings of Love" by Jeffery Osborne, then all came together to sing.
The Top 12 (minus Corey and Josh) sang a medley in honor of the guest judges this season, with each song being wither performed or written by one of them. The medley included:
"Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire (band member Verdine White was judge on Disco (first Top 8) week), "Baby Love" by The Supremes (written by Lamont Dozier who was guest judge on Motown (Top 12) week), "Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson (guest judge on Billy Joel (Top 7) week), "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight (guest judge on Movie songs (Top 11) week), "Words" by Neil Sedaka (guest judge on 60's/Neil Sedaka songs (Top 5) week), "Physical" by BeeGees (band member Robin Gibb guest judged on BeeGees (Top 4) week), "That's Where The Music Takes Me" by Olivia Newton-John (guest judge on Country Rock (Top 10) week), "Hello" by Lionel Richie (guest judge on Billboard #1 (second Top 8) week), and "Rhythm of the Night" by DeBarge (written by Diane Warren who was guest judge on Diane Warren songs (Top 6) week).
Kelly Clarkson performed "One Voice" by Barry Manilow along with the Top 12 (minus Josh and Corey) and also her own song, "Miss Independent" for a second time on the Idol stage.
After winning Ruben sang "Flying Without Wings" which would become his first single.
Clive Davis came out and presented Kelly Clarkson with a plaque to represent her certified platinum debut album. She did it in just 5 weeks.
There were 24 million votes. Ruben got 50.28% and Clay got 49.72%
Early in the episode, Ryan says that Clay and Ruben were separated by 13,000 votes. Later he says that only 1,330 votes separated them. Later, on the news, it was stated that both of these numbers are wrong and 135,000 votes actually separated the two performers, still causing there to be less than a 1% difference between them.
Paula: Thank God the season's over. Now we don't have to pretend.
Simon: I still don't understand a word you say.
Paula: Then I'm doin' my job!
The Ford music video that won was "Ride wit Me".
When doing the recap they had Sugar Ray Leonard do it as if he were recapping a boxing match.
Unlike last season the winners first single is not an original, however the runner ups was. It is possible they assumed Clay would win and therefore gave him the original, but there has never actually been an explanation as to why.
Ruben becomes the first winner of American Idol to have been in the bottom two/three.
As of the end of season 7, Clay is one of only two non American Idol winner to NOT be in the bottom 3 or bottom 2. The other was David Archuleta in season 7.
Surprisingly enough, this was a true underdog story. According to TV Guide, all signs pointed to Clay Aiken. Beyonce of Destiny's Child said that if she were at a Clay Aiken concert, she would scream with joy. But if it were a Ruben Studdard concert, she said she would fall asleep. Hope prevailed, and Ruben won!
Ruben vs. Clay, the culmination of this episode was named number 80 on TV Guide/TV Lands 100 Most Memorable TV Moments in December of 2004.
Ruben beat Clay by only 1,135 votes. However, on the Lycos Top 50, Clay Aiken seems to get many, many more searches then Ruben. On Lycos Top 50, he has been crowned "Fan Favorite."
Josh Gracin and Corey Clark were the only two finalist not appearing in this episode. Josh didn't appear because he had to return to active duty in the Marines and Corey because he disqualified.
Despite Ruben Studdard's (close) win, Clay Aiken's record sales have been much larger. When their singles were released on the same date, Clay's "This Is the Night" made #1 (selling 393,000 copies in its first week), while Ruben's "Flying Without Wings" took the #2 (286,000 copies) spot (the first time in Billboard Hot 100 history that the top two songs were new entries). Although their debut albums had different release dates, Clay's opening week sales for "Measure of a Man" (613,000 copies) far exceeded Ruben's "Soulful" opening week sales (416,000 copies). However, both debuts were greater than Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson's "Thankful" sales (297,000 in first week).
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