Aiken Vs. Studdard: The Rematch

Ruben Studdard, from Birmingham, Ala., and Clay Aiken, from Raleigh, N.C., right, sing together during the finale of "American Idol" on May 21, 2003, in Universal City, Calif. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Two former "American Idol" rivals — second-season winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken — will battle again when their new albums are released next month.

Aiken's third album, "A Thousand Different Ways," will be in stores Sept. 19. The new CD combines 10 cover versions of well-known songs from the '70s, '80s and '90s with four new songs, RCA Records announced Thursday.

Studdard's "The Return" will be released Sept. 26 on J Records. It follows his 2004 gospel album, "I Need an Angel."

Studdard narrowly beat out Aiken to win the "American Idol" contest in May 2003. Their debut albums — Aiken's "Measure of a Man" and Studdard's "Soulful" — were released later that year, with Aiken's CD in stores about two months before Studdard's.

The first track on Studdard's new CD is "The Return of the Velvet Teddy Bear," the 27-year-old singer said earlier this week.

Tracks on Aiken's new disc include Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)," Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" and Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word."

"This is an album of love songs, but they are about all different kinds of love. Romantic love, friendship, unconditional love," Aiken said in a statement Thursday.

"Since so many of these songs are covers, it's realistic to say that many of them have been or could be sung a thousand different ways," the 27-year-old singer said.

"A Thousand Different Ways" follows Aiken's 2004 release, "Merry Christmas With Love."
  • Judy Faber

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