×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ruben Studdard

"American Idol" appears to have legs. The current tour by last year's winner, Ruben Studdard, provides a reasonably paced hour, but Studdard is a bland, treacly performer who turns everything he sings into a homogenized, Hallmark Hall of Fame version of R&B.

With:
Band: Ruben Studdard, Alvin Garrett, John Jackson Jr., Culeman Woodson III, Omari Williams, Norris Jones, Lonny Boreal, Kevin Bennett, Allison Lilly, La'Roy Bodiford, Micah Bradford, Chad Fisher.

“American Idol” appears to have legs. The third edition of Fox’s talent show continues to rack up impressive ratings. But will the performers launched by the show have similar lasting power? The current tour by last year’s winner, Ruben Studdard, doesn’t answer that question. It’s a reasonably paced hour, but Studdard is a bland, treacly performer who turns everything he sings into a homogenized, Hallmark Hall of Fame version of R&B. That his current single, “Sorry 2004,” has an expiration date can’t be a good sign.

A rotund, unthreatening teddy bear of a man — his body is as heavily padded as the “Idol” Wednesday night results show — Studdard has a honeyed tenor that doesn’t stray far from the style of Luther Vandross.

That underscores the biggest flaw of Studdard — and all the “Idol” performers, for that matter. For a show that showcases interpretive performers, very little emphasis is placed on interpreting lyrics. Instead, the singers are rewarded for steamrollering through songs with power, held notes and melismatic runs. They hit musical notes; they miss emotional ones.

It results in an evening that hits its emotional tone early in the diluted new jack swing of “Can I Get Your Attention” and “What If” and stays there. He tells the aud he wants to return to the slow dance, but his attempts to essay ballads range from his limp cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Daydreamin’ ” to the over-the-top bathos of Leon Russell’s “Superstar.”

The lame scripted dialogue, with its repeated calls not to “give up on your dream” and simple stage moves (miming a free throw for “Take the Shot,” conducting the background vocalists) reinforce the evening’s canned impression.

The only time Studdard breaks out is during a short gospel segment late in the show. His singing turns freer as the mannerisms drop away and he starts leading the crowd like a tent show preacher; it’s the only time all night he really connects with his material. That energy and enthusiasm remain on “No Ruben,” as he claims his newfound fame and fortune won’t change him. But it’s short-lived, as he returns to the overblown affirmation of “Flying Without Wings.”

Ruben Studdard

Pantages Theater, Los Angeles; 2,720 seats; $45 top

Production: Presented by Nederlander. Reviewed March 25, 2004.

Cast: Band: Ruben Studdard, Alvin Garrett, John Jackson Jr., Culeman Woodson III, Omari Williams, Norris Jones, Lonny Boreal, Kevin Bennett, Allison Lilly, La'Roy Bodiford, Micah Bradford, Chad Fisher.

More Scene

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

  • Chrissy Metz'Breakthrough' Film Premiere, Arrivals, Regency

    Why 'This Is Us' Star Chrissy Metz Could End Up Performing at the Next Oscars

    Chrissy Metz made her live-singing debut on Sunday when she performed “I’m Standing With You” from her new movie “Breakthrough.” Was that just a step on her way to performing at the Oscars? Could be. The song was written by 10-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren. “They said Chrissy had to sing it and I was [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Disney's Bob Iger Blasts Hateful Political Discourse and Social Media: 'We Can Do Better'

    Bob Iger didn’t mince words while being honored Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Upon receiving the Humanitarian Award at the organization’s National Tribute Dinner from Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO delivered a scathing critique of social media and the current state of political discourse. “Hate and anger are dragging us [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content