The Biggest Loser's fifteenth season premieres Tuesday night with a one-hour episode at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.

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The new season will feature the theme of "second chances." Second-season American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, for example, is the season's heaviest contestant at 462 pounds and will be looking to "reclaim his health and re-write his future" along with the other 14 players -- who will all compete for a $250,000 grand prize.
 
In a new twist, returning trainers Dolvett Quince, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels not only got to assist in the casting process, but they'll also have the opportunity to save one contestant from elimination during the season. 

During a recent conference call with Reality TV World, Ruben talked about the upcoming season and participating on the show as a celebrity. Below is what he had to say.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for a separate interview with The Biggest Loser executive producer Lisa Hennessy. Click here to read Dolvett's interview.

Are you still a vegetarian? Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

Ruben Studdard: I really enjoyed being -- I was actually a Vegan. I really enjoyed it for the time that I was one, [but] I'm not one any longer. And you know, that's just because I've changed my diet and it's really particularly hard sustaining the kind of workouts we have with being on a vegetarian diet.

Did you go the ranch wanting one specific trainer? And how has it been working with Dolvett?

Ruben Studdard: Did I go to the ranch wanting one trainer? Actually, I had no really preconceived desire to work with any of the trainers in particular. I just went to the ranch wanting to get my life together and be healthy.

As for Dolvett, he's a wonderful trainer -- not just a trainer, but he's a wonderful motivator. And not just for the people that he works with, he motivates everybody around the house. So having the opportunity to work with him has been a blessing, and I'm really glad that it worked out the way that it did.

Since the theme is "second chances," how did you see this as your second chance with everything you've already accomplished in your life?

Ruben Studdard: Well I've been really blessed to have a career that has done okay for a while, but the one thing that I have not been able to tackle consistently is staying at a healthy weight. This show has given me a second chance to live a better life not just, you know, professionally but personally.

And you know it's really given me an opportunity to put me first and not put my career ahead of my health, and that's what I've been doing for the past couple of years. And so you know, thankfully, the producers at the show and the trainers on the ranch have given me the opportunity to put my health first, and that is my second chance.
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I was just wondering a little bit about what it was like for you just to kind of let the cameras into this aspect of your life -- your personal struggle with weight?

Ruben Studdard: I guess the thing about being in the public eye, you know just for the past 11 years, my life has been pretty much an open book with only one thing, and that's been my struggle with weight-loss. And so this is very different for me. I'm usually a very private and personal guy, and so do to this was -- it was a lot to think about.

And I knew that it was going to be different for me, but I just wanted to get myself together and get myself on a track to getting healthy. And, this show has really been that vehicle for me. I know that there are cameras everywhere and I know that people are watching me all the time, but you know, I couldn't really think about the fact that this was going to be a reality show.

The only thing that I could think about going into this was that it was going to impact my life in a positive way... I had to look at it as it's something where you know, I'm getting healthier every day. And once I did that, it didn't really matter that the cameras were there because I was there for myself and that's pretty much how I look at it.

Did anything surprise you? I mean, I'm sure you had some sense of what to expect going in. But once you were there, did anything surprise you about the experience?

Ruben Studdard: I think the most difficult thing for me was just the complete disconnect with -- no communication with family or from the outside world. It took it's [toll]. It's really one of the hardest things I've ever had to do just because, you know, I'm always on the road and I'm always away from my family but I'm never disconnected from them where I can't see them or talk to them via Skype or Facetime or whatever.

So not having that luxury at the ranch was I think the most difficult thing for me. And it never got any easier. It's not something that you get used to. You just have to get through it, you know?

What are your thoughts on the new twist in which each trainer could save one contestant from elimination this season?

Ruben Studdard: I think all the contestants were thrilled when they found out about the trainers having the ability to save one contestant. But at the end of the day, the trainers were very clear that we, you know, couldn't really count on them ever using the save.

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So it is most definitely not -- they do not build a culture where you can sit around and be lazy or become pals with somebody to bolster your ability to be saved at the end of the day. You know, everybody has to work as hard as they possibly can.

And then you know, if the trainers just don't feel like it's something that they want to use, then they won't use it. But otherwise, you know, it's really up to them. So, there is nothing that the contestants can do per se to make the trainer decide to use it.

So, you know, at the end of the day, what we have to do is continue to work hard and do as best we can to lose as much weight as possible with the time that we're given without the save.

Are you going to have to come up with a new nickname or will you still be the Velvet Teddy Bear once you lose weight?

Ruben Studdard: I mean, you know, I'll be whatever my fans want to call me honestly. I'm just really happy that I had the opportunity to become a better version of what they call me, and that's what I try to do everyday is just, you know, get better -- like don't be the same person I was yesterday.

And that's what I've been doing over the past few months, is just trying to make sure that every day I get better, work harder, do something better than I did the day before. [Plus, bears] are pretty cute.

How do you think the show sort of prepares its contestants for ongoing wellness? Like for once the show is over?

Ruben Studdard: You know, they are pretty good at it actually. Like they are -- I mean, they really give us the education that we need to move forward once we are away from the ranch to be able to do this as a lifestyle.

Now honestly, it's pretty much up to everybody. Like, you know, everybody that's on the show is its own person. So if people fall or gain the weight back that they lost on the ranch, I don't think that's really up to the people at The Biggest Loser. That's on the individual, but they do everything they can to prepare you for life.

I noticed that some people are in the food business like a cake decorator. I mean, that creates additional challenges, I imagine, for them. When you're in that line of work, how do you think those people cope with being able to maintain weight-loss and that sort of thing?

Ruben Studdard: I think that the biggest thing about being on the ranch is that you learn that your job doesn't have to become you. You know what I mean? Like, I mean, just because you are a food scientist at McDonalds doesn't mean you have to be fat.

It's all about the choices that you make and you know -- and especially as it pertains to a lot of the contestants that are on this show this season that work in food industries. They all talk about how, you know, they made the choice to over-indulge in certain things that they sell or make in that industry but they don't have to. They just do.

Since you knew you were going on the show, did you have a big pig-out session the night before?

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Ruben Studdard: You know, the funny thing is, is I was actually working the night before so I didn't get an opportunity to have a pig-out session. No, I actually flew from a concert to the ranch.

So yes, I didn't really get an opportunity to do that. Not that that's something that we all look forward to, but I mean, I'm sure I probably would've had like a piece of cake or something before I went up to the ranch for a month or [so].

What are your plans for after the show in terms of your career, and how will you incorporate your new health habits into the life of a musician?

Ruben Studdard: I am actually going to be in the process of recording my sixth album after the show. I signed to Verve Universal and David Foster is producing my next album, so it's -- I'm really excited about all of the stuff that I have going on.

But it's just going to have to be a part of -- I'm going to have to, you know, give every day of my life some Ruben time, and that's what I'm going to call it. You know, get up every day and give myself the two hours that I need to keep myself together before I even get into any music stuff. And, that's just going to be how I do it.

What type of a trainer do you think works best for you? The kind who yells? The kind who encourages? The kind who you know works right along with you? The kind who psyches you out?

Ruben Studdard: I am one of those people that I take instruction pretty well, so if you tell me something to do, I do it straight away, and that comes from a life -- from the time I was six until I was maybe 19, so I'm used to being coached.

I guess [in the career] that I'm in now, I have -- I'm not really used to people yelling at me anymore. That doesn't work so much, but I most definitely do well with instruction. So, you know, I really have enjoyed the process and hopefully by the time I finish, I'll be able to hang with Mr. Dolvett and walk around without dying.

What about the fact that you're Southern? Here in the South, we have fried chicken, we have grits, we have biscuits, we have all those things that are so tempting. I know you're on the road all the time, but you grew up Southern. Does that have any impact on you, your decision making, how you approach this, what you'll do after?

Ruben Studdard: It doesn't -- I mean, I just have to make better choices. The problem is not having the grits and one piece of fried chicken one time in two or three months, it's having it every day, and that's what happens with, you know, people like us that are on the ranch.

And so for me, you know I have to be kind of sort of regimented -- well not even kind of sort of. I have to be regimented and pretty much eat the same kind of thing all the time. And in real life, there are going to be times when I'm going to have a piece of pizza or have a hamburger, but I can't have those things every single day, you know what I mean?

Did you feel going into this challenge that you had a target on your back because you are a celebrity?

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Ruben Studdard: Not at all. I actually didn't go into the show thinking about having a target on my back. I just went into the show, especially when we got to the ranch. I just -- I found out how much I weighed, I wanted to change that, and that was my only concern.

You are not the first contestant from American Idol Season 2 to do a weight-loss challenge show.

Ruben Studdard: Right.

Did you talk to Kimberly Locke and get advice from her?

Ruben Studdard: No, not at all.

And then also in the first episode, Jillian makes a comment about your back hair. How did you feel about that, and does she get her way?

Ruben Studdard: You know, I feel that in today's society, men have stopped being men and have let women prettify them. And you know... especially guys like Dolvett, you know, they're all cleanly shaved up, no body hair. But in the '70s you see, all the artists from Teddy Pendergrass to Al Green, to, you know, the Bee Gee's, everybody had chest hair.

Nowadays, these guys, they're too clean. You know, I'm okay. I'm cool in my skin. I'm just trying to lose a little weight. I'm not trying to change my manliness.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for a separate interview with The Biggest Loser executive producer Lisa Hennessy. Click here to read Dolvett's interview.