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2003 -- The Second Season of 'American Idol'

'American Idol': A Stroll Down Memory Lane


What happened during the second season of American Idol?
2003 -- The Second Season of 'American Idol'
Photo: Ruben Studdard Wins American Idol. © Fox.

American Idol, which had made its debut with little hype, kicked off its second season with huge ratings in 2003. The judges were back, more bad singers embarrassed themselves, and the good singers were arguably more talented than the group of season one finalists.

The finalists chosen during Season Two were:

  • Clay Aiken
  • Joshua Gracin
  • Kimberley Locke
  • Trenyce
  • Carmen Rasmusen
  • Kimberly Caldwell
  • Rickey Smith
  • Corey Clark
  • Julia Demato
  • Charles Gribsy
  • Vanessa Olivarez
  • Ruben Studdard
*Read about them here.

There were a couple controversies that helped make season two unforgettable.  Top 12 finalist Corey Clark was disqualified from the competition when his past trouble with the law came to light. But the most memorable controversy of season two came at the very end of the season, on finale night. The competition had come down to soulful R&B singer Ruben Studdard and geeky hearthrob Clay Aiken. Ruben Studdard was crowned the winner but the votes were so close that Clay's fans complained that he would have won if there hadn't been problems with the phone voting process.

Despite the complaints, Ruben Studdard was the new American Idol. Ruben went on to record for J Records. Clay signed with RCA Records. Ruben may have won Idol, but Clay continues to outsell the American Idol.

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