Now Ruben really is a velvet teddy bear. Fans can buy stuffed plush toys inspired by the ''American Idol'' winner

By Gary Susman
July 22, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Does Gladys Knight get a commission? She’s the one who, when she was a celebrity judge on ”American Idol,” dubbed future winner Ruben Studdard ”the Velvet Teddy Bear.” Now, you can actually buy Ruben-inspired velvet teddy bears. According to the New York Post, merchandiser Applause is marketing two versions of a stuffed Studdard bear that, like Ruben, wears a newsboy cap and a big T-shirt (it says ”Ruben,” not ”205”).

The bears come in two sizes, a 15-inch plush toy that will retail for between $15 and $19, and a 7-inch model that will go for about $7.50. Applause, which also makes Winnie the Pooh, Raggedy Ann, and Snoopy merchandise, will release the bears in September.