Ruben Studdard dropped by J Records, first ex-'Idol' champ let go
By Christopher Rocchio, 12/21/2007
Ruben Studdard has reportedly become the first American Idol winner to be dropped by his record label.
RCA chairman Clive Davis' J Records -- which signed Studdard in the same May 2003 week he barely bested Clay Aiken as Idol'ssecond-season champ -- "quietly" dropped the "Velvet Teddy Bear" from its roster earlier this week, the New York Postreported Friday.
Studdard's December 2003 debut "Soulful" dropped at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album-sales chart, selling 416,500 copies in its first week of release. It was certified platinum about a month later and has since sold about 1.8 million copies.
His November 2004 sophomore effort -- "I Need an Angel," a more niche gospel album, didn't fare as well. Despite being certified gold, it only peaked at No. 20 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart.
Studdard's October 2006 third album "The Return" debuted No. 8 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart -- however that was also the R&B album's peak position, and it has sold only 235,000 copies since its release.
In a June 2007 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Studdard said he planned to start working on his fourth album in July and also hoped it would include a duet withIdol 3 champ Fantasia Barrino.
While those plans will presumably be at minimum delayed now that Studdard's been dropped by J Records, he'll still be able to share another distinction with Barrino, as he's currently preparing to play the lead character -- jazz legend Fats Waller -- in a traveling version of the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin, the Post reported. Barrino joined the cast of Oprah Winfrey's Tony Award-winning Broadway show The Color Purple in April, playing the role of Miss Celie.
Studdard joins Aiken as the latest former Idol finalist-turned-actor. Aiken will play the role of Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot, making his debut in the Tony Award-winning musical on January 18 at the Shubert Theatre.
Additional former Idol finalists who have graced the stage include first-season fourth-place finisher Tamyra Gray in Rent and Bombay Dreams; second-season disqualified finalist Frenchie Davis in Rent; and third-season runner-up Diana DeGarmo in Hairspray.