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Ruben Studdard, Idol’s New Goodbye Guy

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Not too long ago, J Records said goodbye to season 2 American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, releasing him from his recording contract. So it's a little ironic that Ruben will now be saying goodbye to the newest crop of Idol castoffs, as he's been chosen to sing season 7's official farewell song (a cover of Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate Me Home," oddly).

Will "Celebrate Me Home" be able to do for Ruben's stalled career what season 5 sendoff song "Bad Day"--one of the most downloaded songs in SoundScan history--did for Daniel Powter's? Apparently 19 Management (which still represents Ruben, and has signed him to subsidiary label 19 Recordings) hopes so.

"Ruben has never left our fold," Idol mastermind Nigel Lythgoe explained to Billboard. "[With] the success that we've had with the play-off song, I wanted to keep it in-house."

Well, keeping it in-house certainly worked last season, when Idol alum Chris Daughtry's future monster smash "Home" served as the weekly exit theme. And if "Celebrate Me Home" becomes a hit for Ruben, this might just be the biggest Idol comeback story since Jennifer Hudson won her Oscar.

I'm a big Rooooooben fan myself, so I think this is fantastic news, but I have just one question: WHY a Kenny Loggins song??? Doesn't that seem an odd choice? Well, word is "Celebrate" will be produced by Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam, the Midas-touched production team that worked with Janet Jackson back when she actually used to have hits--so hopefully Ruben's version will have a little more soul to it.

"Celebrate Me home" will be available on iTunes starting March 12th (uncoincidentally, the night the first of the season's top 12 gets the boot). In the meantime, enjoy this clip of the Velvet Teddy Bear himself performing his shoulda-been-a-hit "Change Me" in the Yahoo! Music studio:

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