‘American Idol’ notes: Ruben/Clay reunion, Carrie Underwood, Maddie Poppe

Originally posted Friday, October 19, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

If you missed Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, the odd couple from season two, they are joining forces again, this time on Broadway for Christmas songs and comedic sketches.

Man, I wish they were doing this on the road. This sounds like a hoot. It’s called “Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show.” (The winner getting first billing, ahem.)

It will run from December 11 to December 30 at the Imperial Theatre.  (Buy tickets here from $39.99 to $199.99.)

Reflecting the pair’s sense of humor, the actual full title of the show is “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show.” They made the announcement earlier this week on “The View” with Aiken’s buddy Meghan McCain

Portions of the show’s proceeds will go to the National Inclusion Project, an organization devoted to the inclusion of children with disabilities in community and education programs. (That’s an arena of interest for Aiken going back to his days as a special ed teacher.)

It’s nice to see Aiken get back into entertaining again after a relatively long hiatus. 

“There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas!” Aiken said. “t’s been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”


“Idol” judges went to Idaho for the first time for auditions this past Sunday and Monday. Yes, Idaho! Specifically, they landed in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Apparently, contestants were placed on boats, so that’s a first


NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 17: Honoree Carrie Underwood accepts an award onstage during the 2018 CMT Artists of The Year at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on October 17, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

CMT’s “Artists of the Year” special Wednesday focused on women in country music. CMT boss and former 99X program director Leslie Fram has been pushing for more women in the arena and this is clearly a result of that.

Among the honorees: Carrie UnderwoodMiranda LambertKelsea BalleriniMaren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. The coveted “Artist of a Lifetime” award presented to icon Loretta Lynn.

A very pregnant Underwood, with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June, did a medley of classic female-led country songs by the likes of Tammy Wynette, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain and Dolly Parton

Country radio remains dominated by men. The current Mediabase top 20 features all of two songs with female leads: Maren Morris and Sugarland. (Carrie’s song “Love Wins” just debuted and is at 36.)

Carrie will be co-hosting the CMA Awards November 14 with Brad Paisley for the 11th consecutive year. Carrie will perform and has been nominated for female vocalist of the year for the 13th year. (She has won four times.)


LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 07: Maddie Poppe attends the National Breast Cancer Coalition's 18th Annual Les Girls Cabaret at Avalon Hollywood on October 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Maddie Poppe’s next single “Keep on Movin’ On” comes out Friday, October 26. She said her coronation single “Going Going Gone,” which landed with a thud on radio, was too pop for her taste. So we’ll see how this new one sounds in a week. 


THE VOICE -- “Battle Rounds” Episode 1508 -- Pictured: Jennifer Hudson -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
Photo: NBC/Trae Patton/NBC

I know. I should be watching “The Voice” since JHud and Kelly Clarkson are coaches. I’m not. But it does appear they are getting along famously. 

I know the battle rounds just started. Hope it’s going well for them. 


Clay Aiken Tweet of the week

Purely promotional this time around. (See lead story)

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About the Author

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

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