NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken onstage during the opening night curtain call for "Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Show" on December 11, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images
Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images

‘American Idol’ notes: Ruben/Clay on Broadway, ‘Idol’ 2019 schedule, Maddie/Caleb, Kelly Clarkson

Originally posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken last week began their run on Broadway and reviews were decidedly mixed.

The New York Times was super kind: “[T]he production now playing at the Imperial Theater on Broadway actually has assets that would be effective any time of the year, especially if you happen to miss old-fashioned variety shows run by a pair of genial, bantering hosts.”

Broadway News? They pilloried the writing: “Both performers have likable, nicely contrasted personas: Studdard the burly teddy-bear type with a beaming smile and a touch of sassy aggression, Aiken the frisky, borderline-nerdy imp whom Studdard aptly likens to an overgrown elf. But their comic banter mostly has the strained and saggy feeling of, well, artificially crafted comic banter.”

And Deadline echoed Broadway News: “Neither Aiken nor Studdard have anywhere close to the comedic chops needed to pull off something like this. Their timing is imprecise, to put it mildly, with Studdard the more egregiously off beat. The odd couple schtick is forced and undercooked.”

The show didn’t seem to click with New Yorkers seeking holiday cheer. Reports have shows reaching only 39 percent capacity at the Imperial Theatre. 

I would say the show should have hit the road and gone to Southeast cities where their hardcore fans are still around such as Raleigh, Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham. Maybe next year! 


AMERICAN IDOL - Music industry legends and all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, along with Emmy(r) - winning producer and host Ryan Seacrest were on hand when ABC's "American Idol" kicked off judge auditions for the next singing sensation in Denver, CO. "American Idol" is returning to The ABC Television Network for the 2018-2019 season, after first making its return to airwaves as the No. 1 reality show launch for its inaugural season on the network during the 2017-2018 season. (ABC/Josh Vertucci) LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
Photo: Josh Vertucci/ABC

Gold Derby came out with what appears to be the ABC schedule for “American Idol.”

Last season felt a bit rushed, especially with just five weeks of live shows and just 11 weeks overall. But ABC has chosen (probably for financial reasons) to keep it to just five live weeks while adding an extra week of auditions. So it’s 12 weeks.

I can’t say that’s much of an improvement. 

During Fox’s heyday, “Idol” ran for 19 weeks. 

Here’s the tentative schedule for 2019:

March 3 – Auditions

March 4 – Auditions

March 10 – Auditions

March 11 – Auditions

March 17 – Auditions

March 18 – Auditions

March 24 – Auditions

March 25 – Hollywood Week (Part 1)

March 31 – Hollywood Week (Part 2)

April 1 – Top 50 Showcase

April 7 – Top 24: Group 1 (12 contestants) solo performances

April 8 – Top 24: Group 1 (12 contestants) duets with celebrities

April 14 – Top 24: Group 2 (12 contestants) solo performances

April 15 – Top 24: Group 2 (12 contestants) duets with celebrities

Live shows

April 21 – Top 12

April 22 – Top 10

April 28 – Top 8

May 5 – Top 6

May 12 – Top 4

May 19 – Finale

May 20 – Finale Results


NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 22: Brynn Cartelli is seen during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
Photo: John Lamparski/WireImage

Last spring’s winner for “American Idol” Brynn Cartelli, who was coached by Kelly Clarkson, was signed by Atlantic Records. 

As MJ’s Big Blog noted, Clarkson has taken Cartelli under wing literally. She signed a management deal with Kelly’s husband, Brandon Blackstock shortly after the season ended. She joined Kelly’s Meaning of Life tour, set to kick off next year, as an opener. And now, the young singer has signed a deal with Kelly’s record label, Atlantic.

Many “Voice” winners have worked with Republic Records, mostly with little or no success. So this appears to be a much better home for Cartelli to go if she wants a real shot stardom. 

BShe is set to premiere a new single “Last Night’s Mascara” on tonight’s “Voice” season finale.

The finale will feature two singers from Blake’s team, one from Jennifer Hudson and one from Kelly. About 38 percent of fans on the Gold Derby poll think Hudson’s pick Kennedy Holmes should win. But those on MJ’s Big Blog prefer Kelly’s Chevel Shepherd at 44 percent, ahead of Blake’s Kirk Jay at 40 percent. 


The CW recently aired the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which featured several “Idol” alums and happened on November 25: 

Here’s David Archuleta from season seven:

And Blake Lewis from season six:

And Kimberly Caldwell from season two!

And season 4’s Mikalah Gordon, who has possibly the most annoying voice ever: 

And season 5’s Elliot Yamin, who still sounds great:

And season 2’s Ruben is as soulful as ever!

And in the latest in boring Twitter controversies, a producer and showrunner at Sports Illustrated had the temerity to say she hates the newest Carrie Underwood Sunday Night Football song “Game On.” 

Carrie responded by saying it would be better if women lifted each other up and Jessica Smetana backtracked a bit:

The Hollywood Round showcase portion will be shot in Hawaii. 

And boyfriend/girlfriend combo Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson got a trip out to a Hawaiian Disney resort, too!

View this post on Instagram

Somewhere on a Beach 🏝 📸: @maddiepoppe

A post shared by Caleb Lee Hutchinson (@calebleemusic) on

Clay Aiken Tweet of the Week

He shockingly ignored the Deadline and Broadway News reviews and honed in on the New York Times:

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.