Studdard’s ties to Vandross stretch back to the very start of his singing career. He performed a head-turning version of “Superstar” for his first-round song on Idol, which set the stage for his ultimate overall win. “Superstar” was originally released in 1969 by the duo Delaney & Bonnie (it was co-written with Leon Russell), but it was a bigger hit for The Carpenters in 1971 and then for Vandross in 1983. Studdard’s recorded version — a single from his debut album, Soulful — was nominated for a Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy; the 2004 award ultimately went to Vandross himself, for his work on the song “Dance with My Father.”
Last spring, Studdard — who earned the nickname the Velvet Teddy Bear on Idol — released his Ruben Sings Luther album, which features his arrangements of Vandross hits like “Always and Forever,” “Power of Love” and “Never Too Much.”
“Since I won American Idol, people have been asking for me to sing Luther songs for a long time,” Studdard told People magazine. “I thought, ‘OK. You want to hear it? I might as well do it.’ I thought it was the perfect time to pay homage to one of the greatest song interpreters of all time.”
8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14. $45-$65. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, memorialhallotr.com.