The fact of the matter is, if Ruben actually violated the rules of the show, then regardless of his immense (no pun intended) talent, he should relinquish his title. But to whom — the second-place contestant, Clay Aiken?
You see, this show, which has become a phenomenon, is supposed to represent more than just a shot at fame for a talented few. It has separated itself from other such competitive shows by allowing the American public to be the decision makers.
Millions of people tuned in each week to watch their favorite performers and hundreds of thousands of those folks took the time to call in and vote, to give the one they thought most worthy a chance at fame and fortune.
Frenchie's Web involvement and Corey's arrest did not make them any less talented as individuals. Nor does Ruben's alleged profiting from wearing a jersey make him any less of a singer.
But the question is: Were rules violated, lines crossed, regulations dishonored?
If Frenchie and Corey would have been allowed to continue in the competition, who knows what the outcome would've been? If it's proven that Ruben did benefit financially for wearing the 205 shirts, then what should happen? What if this had been revealed while the show was going on, wouldn't he have been eliminated along with Frenchie and Corey?
I know there are a lot of woulda-coulda-shoulda items here, but something fishy is going on, and the American Idol that America chose may not be someone to be idolized after all.
Time will tell as more details unfold, but if in fact the claims against Studdard are true, then we've been foiled once again by reality TV.
As Simon Cowell would say of a first-round American Idol reject, "It's appalling."
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.