American Idol
Credit: Ruben Studdard: J. Viles

Here are Ruben Studdard’s odds for winning ”Idol”

It’s been boring, hasn’t it? Sure, Kimberley came on strong, and Clay, God bless him, will never go jobless as long as there’s a touring company of ”Beauty and the Beast” in need of a singing spoon. But from the moment 25-year-old Ruben, the gentle giant with the plus-size voice, took the stage in the prelims and tore into the Carpenters’ wrenching ”Superstar,” there hasn’t been much argument about this competition’s front-runner. If you doubt it, close your eyes: His is the one voice you can imagine coming out of your CD player. The music biz has always had room for a big fella with pure pipes, and Ruben’s soaring, huge, sweet-with-a-hint-of-a-rasp sound is made for pop. But beyond ”talent!” (Ruben’s mom’s answer to the question ”What did you feed him?”), Ruben deserves to win because he is the calmest person in the history of reality TV. Not for him the naked love-me neediness. Ru just gets up, lets loose, and represents his flava. As for the slam that he can do only one thing: true, and who cares? If America really wanted a winner to be a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll, we’d all be talking about Kimberly Caldwell right now.
LOWDOWN Ru, we can’t get enough of your love, baby.
ODDS 2:1