Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Ruben Studdard, aka the Velvet Teddy Bear of American Idol Season Two, has come a long way since his time on the show. But despite the passage of more than a decade, the soulful R&B singer still feels tied to the program that launched his career.

Parade recently sat down with Ruben, and the Idol alum made sure to pay a compliment to the judges on the current season.

You want people there that are at the top of their craft and they have three judges there this year that are most definitely at the top,” Ruben said of Season 13.

Although Mr. Teddy Bear gave high praise to both Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, it was new judge Harry Connick, Jr. who really made Ruben stand up and take notice.

“I’m actually really a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr. and I was really excited when they announced he would be a judge. The level of music he performs is outstanding, so to have him there to critique the kids is great,” he gushed.

Even more interesting, however, is which former Idol judge Ruben compared Harry to. “[He’s] really technical and it’s great for the kids to have that like we had Randy Jackson,” he said.

We hadn’t really thought about that but, now that Ruben points it out, we totally see it. Where Keith and J.Lo go more with their guts on picking their favorites, Harry really holds this year’s contestants to a high level of technical ability — minus all the “dawgs.”

Ruben whose compilation of love songs, Unconditional Love, drops today (February 4)  doesn’t have as much time to watch Idol as he’d like, but still credits the show for his many successes. In fact, when asked what’s one of his favorite career moment to date, Ruben said, “Of course winning American Idol.”

What do you think of Ruben’s Harry/Randy Jackson comparison? Sound off in the comments!

SourceParade