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American Idol season 2 champ Ruben Studdard gives ABC’s reboot a golden ticket: “I was pleasantly surprised”

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DisneyABC won Sunday night — and scored its best ratings in that time slot in four years — with the premiere of its American Idol reboot. More than 10 million people tuned in, and one of them was American Idolseason two champ, Ruben Studdard, who liked what he saw.

“I think it’s gonna be really good!” he told ABC Radio. “I was, like, pleasantly surprised at how good the show is.”  He was also surprised that with all the other singing competition shows out there, that Idolmanaged to find so much still-undiscovered talent.

“I thought that it would’ve been a great time for American Idol to sit back maybe a couple more years because…if everybody’s fishing from the same pond, there are only so many trout that are gonna be in there,” he laughs. But he says the contestants’ talent blew him away.

“It wasn’t like how in past seasons, you could see them having to raise the age limit to get a greater pool of talent,” he notes. “These were 16, 17-year-old old kids that could potentially have a long career. They were really really great.”

Ruben singled out two contestants in particular — Catie Turner and Harper Grace — both of whom sang original songs on Sunday night’s episode. “They’re both absolutely different than one another, but they’re both good,” he said. Talking about Harper’s song, “Yard Sale,” he said, “That could be a hit today.”

The “Velvet Teddy Bear” is also a fan of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

“They have every genre represented,” he says. “All of them together have enough experience to tell these kids, like ‘We think that you can be something special.’  I think it’s gonna be great.”

Ruben’s new album, Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross, is out Friday.

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