The finale of Season 2 of American Idol took place on May 20th and 21st 2003. It featured Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard competing for the title of winner of American Idol.

Ruben Studdard was declared the winner, earning 50.28% of the 24 million votes cast.

Contestants' Performances[edit | edit source]

The final two contestants performed three times.

Ruben Studdard "A House is Not a Home" (Dionne Warwick) Winner
Clay Aiken "This is the Night" (Clay Aiken) Runner-Up
Ruben Studdard "Imagine" (John Lennon) Winner
Clay Aiken "Here, There and Everywhere" (The Beatles) Runner-Up
Ruben Studdard "Flying Without Wings" (Westlife) Winner
Clay Aiken "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel) Runner-Up

Guest Performances[edit | edit source]

Kelly Clarkson and the Top 12 (Clay Aiken, Kimberly Caldwell, Julia DeMato, Charles Grigsby Kimberley Locke, Vanessa Olivarez, Carmen Rasmusen, Rickey Smith, Ruben Studdard, Trenyce) "One Voice" (Barry Manilow)
Kelly Clarkson "Miss Independent" (Kelly Clarkson)
The Top 12 "Let's Groove" (Earth, Wind & Fire)

"Baby Love" (The Supremes)

"Tears of a Clown" (Smokey Robinson)

"Midnight Train to Georgia" (Gladys Knight)

"Words" (The Bee Gees)

"Physical" (Olivia Newton-John)

"That's Where the Music Takes Me" (Neil Sedaka)

"Hello" (Lionel Richie)

"Rhythm of the Night" (Debarge)

Ruben Studdard "Superstar" (The Carpenters)
Kimberley Locke "Over the Rainbow" (Judy Garland)
Clay Aiken "On the Wings of Love" (Jeffrey Osborne)
Ruben Studdard "Flying Without Wings"
Clay Aiken "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel)
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" (McFadden & Whitehead)

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Paul Anka performed "My Way" during the performance night.
  • This was the first Finale where the final two contestants were of the same gender.
  • Some controversy sparked over the margin of victory Ruben Studdard received in the final voting. Out of 24 million votes cast, Ruben won with only 134,000 votes ahead of Clay.
  • Corey Clark and Joshua Gracin were both absent from the Top 12 performance with Kelly Clarkson, most likely because of the former's disqualification and the latter being involved in the military.
  • Wanda Sykes, Brooke Burke, Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa, Eric Close, Quentin Tarantino, Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Chiklis, Clive Davis, Olivia Newton-John, Verdine White, Neil Sedaka and Gladys Knight all made cameos during the telecast.
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