Ruben Studdard, the soulful R&B singer who emerged triumphant in American Idol's second season, performed his new single Together on Thursday's results show, continuing a ratings-friendly trend of bringing back past winners (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood) consistent with the genre of the episode.
Clad in a white tuxedo, Studdard's melodious voice entertained the crowd, as the hopefuls caught a glimpse of what might lie ahead if they win; Studdard, currently performing in a touring production of the musical Ain't Misbehavin', has recorded three studio albums after his Idol victory six years ago, with a fourth due out in May.
Though reluctant to predict this season's winner, the 30-year-old offered advice, while recalling the grind that accompanies the grueling final rounds in the competition.
"It's so early on now, and everyone is trying to work out their nerves and get accustomed to being away from home," he told MTV prior to performing. "I haven't talked to them yet, but the only thing I can say to them is to stay focused. There's a lot going on. Your home life doesn't stop because you're on the show, but you have to focus on the goal at hand because the most important thing while you're there is performing well."