Ruben Studdard hopes to be 'The Biggest Loser'

Ruben Studdard. (NBC photo)

Ruben Studdard. (NBC photo)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:11 PM ET

Ruben Studdard wants to lose weight, not body hair.

In the first episode of the new season of The Biggest Loser, which returns Tuesday, Oct. 15 on NBC and OMNI, trainer Jillian Michaels makes a comment about Studdard's hairy exterior.

"I feel that in today's society, men have stopped being men and have let women prettify them, getting them cleanly shaved up, with no body hair," says Studdard, prompting laughter. "But in the '70s, all the artists, from Teddy Pendergrass to Al Green to the Bee Gees, everybody had chest hair.

"Nowadays, these guys, they're too clean. I'm OK, I'm cool in my skin. I'm just trying to lose a little weight. I'm not trying to change my manliness."

Studdard, who became famous when he won the second season of American Idol back in 2003, certainly has signed up for a different kind of reality show this time. Of the 15 contestants on the 15th season of The Biggest Loser, Studdard is the heaviest, at a starting and startling weight of 462 pounds.

The motivational reality-competition series, which features Michaels, Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince as trainers, and is hosted by Alison Sweeney, has helped contestants lose more than 26,600 pounds collectively through its first 14 seasons. How many of them keep that weight off is another matter.

"Every (contestant) is their own person, so if people gain the weight back that they lost on the ranch, I don't think that's really up to the people at The Biggest Loser," Studdard says. "That's on the individual. They do everything they can to prepare you for life.

"There will be times when I'm going to have a piece of pizza or a hamburger. But I can't have those things every single day, you know what I mean?"

Absolutely - but knowing and doing are two different things, as millions of North Americans know. In a perfect world there would be no need for The Biggest Loser, but alas, here we are.

Studdard, who says he is working on a new album with Canadian producer David Foster, is thankful for the "second chance" at a healthy lifestyle that The Biggest Loser is inspiring him to achieve.

"When I turned 34, I realized I wasn't young any more," says Studdard, now 35.

Studdard says he got into the mind-set of putting aside any self-consciousness and ignoring the cameras, because he realized this was something he had to do for himself, not anyone else. There were certain things that took some getting used to, though.

"I take instruction pretty well, so if you tell me something to do, I do it straight away, and that comes from being coached, from the time I was 6 until I was maybe 19," Studdard says. "But I'm not really used to people yelling at me any more. That doesn't work so much."

Kind of like bushels of male body hair. Oh, sorry Ruben, forgot how you feel about "man-scaping."


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