Ruben Studdard Wins the Second Season of 'American Idol'

In season two, Seacrest surfaced as the lone host.

Brian Dunkleman reportedly hated working on the show and the studio was dissatisfied with his performance. Kristin Holt was a special correspondent.

This time, Ruben Studdard emerged as the winner with Clay Aiken as a very close runner-up. Out of 24 million votes recorded, Studdard finished just 130,000 votes ahead of Aiken. The accuracy of the reported results remains controversial. There was much discussion in the communication industry about the phone system being overloaded, and that more than 150 million votes were dropped, making the voting results suspect. Since then the voting methods have been modified to help avoid this problem. In an interview prior to the start of the fifth season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe revealed for the first time that Aiken had led the fan voting from the wild card week onward until the finale. Despite Studdard's win, Aiken has enjoyed more widespread popularity, emerging as the season's true breakout star.

A mini-controversy emerged after the finale when Simon Cowell alleged that Clay Aiken knew the results of the show nearly an hour before they were announced on-air because he had snuck a peek at Ryan Seacrest's handheld cue card backstage. On Larry King Live the next day, Aiken admitted he had indeed seen the card but could not read it in the backstage light; however, he had seen enough to determine that the name on it was too long to be "Clay Aiken". On the live broadcast, Aiken can be seen turning his body to face Studdard and whispering something in his ear right before the results were announced, a visual clue fans took as confirmation that Aiken had somehow found out he was not the winner.

During the course of the contest, Ruben became known for wearing 205 Flava jerseys representing his area code; when asked about them early in the season, Ruben told Ryan Seacrest that he was "just representing 205". Shortly after the end of the contest, Ruben sued 205 Flava, Inc. for $2 Million dollars for using his image for promotional purposes. 205 Flava responded by alleging that Ruben had accepted over $10,000 in return for wearing 205 shirts, and produced 8 cashed checks to validate their claim. The allegations, if true, were a clear violation of the American Idol rules. The lawsuit was settled out of court.

The rumor mills were buzzing once again in 2005 when Season Two contestant Corey Clark, who was disqualified from the show because of claims made by the Idol producers that Clark had a police record he had not disclosed to the show, alleged that he had had an affair with judge Paula Abdul during the competition. Clark also alleged that Abdul gave him preferential treatment on the show because of their alleged romance. A subsequent investigation by Fox found that Fox was unable to corroborate any evidence or witnesses provided by Clark to support his charges.