---- — LOS ANGELES (AP) — “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard is joining the cast of “The Biggest Loser,” becoming the first celebrity to compete on NBC’s weight-loss reality show.
The balladeer nicknamed “The Velvet Teddy Bear” was crowned the winner of “American Idol” Season 2 in 2003, edging out Clay Aiken in one of the tightest votes in that show’s history. Studdard used the win as a platform to launch a singing-and-performing career, and also earned a Grammy nomination.
One thing he hasn’t been able to tackle? His weight.
The super-sized Studdard becomes the first celebrity to compete on “The Biggest Loser,” and it raises many questions. Will Studdard get the celebrity treatment at the ranch? Will the other competitors feel compelled to treat him differently? Will he arrive with his own cook, cellphone access and driver?
Or will trainers Bob Harper, Dolvett Quince and Jillian Michaels treat him like everyone else?
This much is clear: Studdard will be sweating off the weight, no matter how long he manages to stay at the Biggest Loser Ranch outside Los Angeles. Shooting is underway, meaning Studdard and the rest of the cast have been working out in sweltering heat.
Studdard’s weight-loss journey will be seen in the fall, when Season 15 of “The Biggest Loser” is slated to air.