Gary Susman
July 01, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Did Ruben Studdard, trounced by Clay Aiken at the record store cash register, cry, ”No más”? Or did he simply decide to be the bigger man and step aside? Either way, the next expected showdown between the two ”American Idol” rivals is not to be. RCA, the label that signed both of them, has scrapped its plans to release their debut albums simultaneously on Aug. 19, TV Guide Online reports. In fact, it’s not clear when the discs will hit stores, but ”they’re not going to come out on the same day,” a label spokesperson tells the website.

Originally, ”Idol” winner Ruben and runner-up Clay were to face off again on the album chart as they did earlier this summer with their singles; RCA saw the rematch as ”a way for consumers to vote with their money.” But in the singles battle, Aiken’s ”This is the Night” and ”Bridge Over Troubled Water” outsold Studdard’s ”Flying Without Wings” and ”Superstar” by about 100,000 copies their first week out of the box.

Maybe RCA realized that releasing both albums on the same day might jeopardize the sales of one of them. Or, as an RCA rep told last week, the records could be subject to the natural delay that seems to afflict all ”American Idol” finishers’ CDs; Kelly Clarkson’s ”Thankful” was came out several months later than promised. The rep who spoke to TV Guide said, ”There’s still recording that needs to be done,” adding that fans probably wouldn’t hear either disc before September.

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