It’s time for an ‘American Idol’ Christmas! Former rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken have reunited for a Christmas spectacular on Broadway and fans can’t believe how good it is!
Fifteen years ago, Ruben Studdard, 40, and Clay Aiken, 40, battled it out in the season two finale of American Idol. Forty million people turned in to see Ruben take the crown, and more than a decade later, these two rivals-turned-friends have teamed up to bring a little Christmas spirit to the Big Apple. Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show opened on Broadway’s Imperial Theatre on Dec. 11. This show might beat the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular as the hottest ticket in town this season, as fans were losing their minds over the show.
Such beautiful voices! ❤️hearing #ClayAiken & #RubenStuddard’s voices again. @RubenAndClay #Christmas #Broadway #NYC #Bravo” “SO fun seeing the fantastic @clayaiken and @RubenStuddard in the opening night of their Christmas show last night!! The show is 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥” “Lovely evening w/my dear friend @carriesheffield seeing our friend @clayaiken in concert with @RubenStuddard for their new Christmas show. A MUST SEE if you’re in #nyc for the holidays! Also lovely to run into my sweet friends @HuntsmanAbby and @MeghanMcCain tonight! ❤️❤️” “Great show @clayaiken @RubenStuddard ! Run (don’t walk) to Ruben and Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show!”
Opening night saw such personalities as Abby Huntsman, Morgan Ortagus, Meghan McCain and Frankie Grande in the audience. The show, directed by Jonathan Tessero, is billed as Clay and Ruben’s first time they’ve been on a “national stage” since the end of Idol, though some might point out their co-headlining tour in 2010, per The New York Times. Ruben is described as having a “no-presence presence [that] makes his singing all the more stunning: He has the precision and warmth of a top-shelf R&B crooner while looking as if his mind was elsewhere entirely. On Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” Mr. Studdard surfs over the notes like a sleigh effortlessly gliding over fresh snow. He is that good.”
Despite Ruben’s singing and how Clay is “a better actor,” the critical reception has been mixed. Greg Evans of our sister site, Deadline, says the show “pads the proceedings with intentionally cheesy sketch comedy, corny banter and, more successfully, thoughtful personal nostalgia.” However, he says that the show is its “most enjoyable when the songs are flowing” and praises the show’s family friendly price – tickets start at $39. Hey, the audience seems to like it and really, isn’t bringing joy and happiness to many is what Christmas is really all about?
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