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Aiken, Studdard hold on for final round of ‘Idol’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Clay Aiken, a Southern Baptist, and fellow “American Idol” contestant Ruben Studdard have made it to the final round of competition May 21.

Aiken, of Leesville Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., has been characterized for his humble demeanor and his devotion to helping kids. As a special education major at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Aiken regularly worked with a 12-year-old autistic boy.

Regarding his status as an “American Idol” finalist, Aiken doesn’t elevate the honor more than necessary.

“I’m so much further than I thought I would be. Just getting here is absolutely amazing to me,” he said in the News & Observer. “If it’s not meant to happen, I’m totally, totally happy with going back to being a teacher.”

But if he does win, he has a secured shot at a record deal and may even follow in the footsteps of last season’s “American Idol” winner, Kelly Clarkson, whose album recently debuted at the top of the charts.

Studdard is a member of Rising Star Baptist Church in the Birmingham, Ala., area, according to news reports, which did not list the church’s denominational affiliation.

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