07/14/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
In a reversal of the American Idol
final results, Clay Aiken
's debut single outsold Ruben Studdard's, 393,000 to 286,000 copies, in their first week out. Here's how we judge them:
•"Flying Without Wings"/"Superstar" Studdard's cover of Westlife's inspirational pop ballad "Flying without Wings" is too over-the-top for the oversize singer, whose velvety voice is better suited to smooth R&B material. He soars higher on a soul-kissed version of the Carpenters' "Superstar" that would do Luther proud.
•"Bridge over Troubled Water"/"This Is the Night" Although this Broadway-style rendition of "Bridge over Troubled Water" is surely not what Paul Simon imagined when he wrote the song, Aiken gives a show-stopping performance that blows away the maudlin original tune "This Is the Night" that he also sang during the Idol
Winner: A near draw, but a powerhouse Clay takes the prize.