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Entertainment reporters talk 'Idol'


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(CNN) -- "American Idol" named its winner, 24-year-old Ruben Studdard, Wednesday night. What can he expect in his future? Heidi Collins of CNN's "American Morning" talked with Newsweek's B.J. Sigesmund, TV Guide's Lisa Bernhard, and Rolling Stone's Toure to get their thoughts.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Now to the really, really important story of the day, the "Velvet Teddy Bear" is living large this morning. Ruben Studdard is America's newest idol. ... Studdard defeated Clay Aiken in a final face-off; 24 million people took part in the viewer voting. And Ruben's prize is a million-dollar recording contract.

Our own panel of experts is back with a morning-after look at the "American Idol" finale.

Thanks so much for being here, guys. I know there are a couple of sad faces this morning, the Clay people over here and the Ruben person over there.

TOURE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE: That's right.

COLLINS: We were thinking about vanishing to the corner of the room.

TOURE: I'm with the majority of America. So, why am I getting banished?

COLLINS: Well, but now, wait, let's talk about that.

LISA BERNHARD, DEPUTY EDITOR, TV GUIDE: Yes, the majority of how big?

B.J. SIGESMUND, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, NEWSWEEK: Heidi, I have something in my pocket that I'm going to take out and I have one word for you all: recount. We spent a lot of time ...

You know, Ryan Seacrest said at first, that 13,000 votes separated them. [Ed. note: According to The Associated Press, 130,000 votes separated the pair.]

TOURE: Yes.

BERNARD: Yes, I know.

COLLINS: Right.

SIGESMUND: And then he said later in the show 1,300 people separated them. And now, you know, Reuters is reporting it's 130,000.

COLLINS: Yes.

SIGESMUND: Now, at Newsweek we spent a lot of time during 2000 talking about the [disputed] election between Bush and Gore.

COLLINS: Indeed you did.

SIGESMUND: And I think maybe this deserves at least a little bit of cover treatment...

COLLINS: Right.

SIGESMUND: ... you know, possibly.

COLLINS: Good point. But, Toure, I have to give you a second or two here. How did this go down? What do you think?

TOURE: Well, the brother with the soul won. He had humility. He had some cool to him. He's got a great -- nice pipes. You know, I mean, I think the right thing happened here.

Best available?

Clay fans
Fans were loyal and supportive of their favorites, from Clay ...

COLLINS: Let's go ahead and listen in. Just in case people did not watch last night or they missed it somehow, let's go ahead and listen in to Ruben's final performance.

Something about those gospel singers behind him ...

BERNHARD: I know.

COLLINS: ... was just so incredibly powerful.

TOURE: Yes, yes.

COLLINS: Overall, I'd like to hear from you all on this, what was your opinion of the performances, Toure?

TOURE: Well, I don't know. I mean, I looked at this show, and I'm, like, are these the best unsigned singers that we have in all of America?

SIGESMUND: No!

BERNHARD: There is probably a waiter on the next block or a waitress ...

TOURE: OK, so why aren't they -- so, why aren't they in the contest?

BERNHARD: ... Certain people get through. That's, you know, the way of the world, Toure.

TOURE: Right.

SIGESMUND: That is the beauty of the show ...

COLLINS: Yes.

SIGESMUND: ... 70,000 people if they have a -- you know, a kid has a good performance and he makes it one cut, and then he makes the next cut, and there is luck and there is good fortune in there, and there's tragedy and drama in there.

TOURE: Yes, there is.

COLLINS: And there is always Simon.

On their way

Ruben fans
... to Ruben.

BERNHARD: ... Judging from last night, also I thought [Kimberly] should have won.

TOURE: I know.

BERNHARD: She was terrific.

SIGESMUND: If Kimberly, if she had a CD out, I would buy it today.

COLLINS: Really?

SIGESMUND: Yes, I like her voice so much.

BERNHARD: Clay still has, you know, the better voice. But talking about CDs, I don't feel like I have emotional closure here. I feel like -- I feel like because both of them have record deals, you know, Clay and Ruben...

TOURE: Right.

BERNHARD: ... it's like there was no tension.

SIGESMUND: Right.

TOURE: Yes.

SIGESMUND: It's like "Survivor" in that way.

BERNHARD: They're like they both know that they're on their way to stardom.

COLLINS: Thanks so much to all three of you for being here. B.J. Sigesmund from Newsweek, Lisa Bernhard from TV Guide, and Toure, the guy who likes Ruben, from Rolling Stone magazine, thanks so much to you all.


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