When Simon Cowell said during the "American Idol" finale that the real competition would be when Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken release singles on the same day, the finalists thought he was kidding. He wasn't.
On Tuesday, both Southern gents will come out of the gate, hoping to achieve the kind of success Kelly Clarkson's first single generated in September (see " 'American Idol' Kelly Clarkson Crushes Singles Chart Competition").
Studdard's double A-side single will include versions of "Superstar" (made popular first by the Carpenters, then Luther Vandross) and Westlife's "Flying Without Wings," for which he's shooting a video this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.
Erik White (B2K, 3LW) is directing the clip, which will feature Studdard performing for the first time in his hometown since he was crowned "American Idol" last month (see " 'Idol' Winner Ruben Studdard Says He's Living Out His Dream").
Aiken's single will feature the new song "This Is the Night" and his acclaimed cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Some may be wondering why Studdard and Aiken's manager, Simon Fuller, would release their singles at the same time. Well, perhaps he figures "American Idol" fans will already be in record stores that day. Another of his clients, Justin Guarini, is releasing his self-titled debut album Tuesday (see "Guarini May Tour With Kelly Clarkson After Dropping Pop-Soul Debut").
The finalists' albums, however, will be released about a month apart, with Ruben's tentatively due August 19 and Clay's in September (see " 'Idol' Chatter: Ruben, Clay, Others Discuss Post-Show Plans").