The Rubin Brothers Bring Circus Spectacle to American Idol

Berklee alum Colescott Rubin and his brother, current student A.J., rode unicycles and sang about love and peanut butter during their memorable audition for season 22 of the long-running talent show.

February 26, 2024

It’s a tale as old as time: You ride to your American Idol audition on a unicycle while playing an upright bass, sing a song about peanut butter with your brother on trumpet, and have musical legends singing along by the end.

Colescott Rubin riding a unicycle while holding an acoustic bass and a tuba during a parade

Colescott Rubin somehow riding a unicycle while holding an upright bass and a tuba with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

Image by Ryan Shinji

While this was certainly a first for American Idol, the performance was fairly typical for Colescott Rubin B.M. '20 and his brother A.J., who perform as the Rubin Brothers, one of many eclectic projects the two musicians have going. Colescott is an accompanist in the Ensemble Department, as well as a circus musician, multi-instrumentalist, and educator. He has performed with esperanza spalding B.M. ’05, John Legend ’20H, and Patrice Rushen '05H, among others. He also leads the swing band Colescott & His Red Hots, and the Rubin Brothers Brass Band—currently the house band for the Free Jacks, New England’s professional rugby team.

A.J. Rubin is currently studying trumpet and arranging at Berklee, but is also a multi-instrumentalist with a background in classical and jazz. An entertainer in many ways, he also performs as a clown and works in mixed media sculpture.

The brothers may have not made it past the audition, but they succeeded in charming all three celebrity judges, with Lionel Richie ’17H ad-libbing vocals and country artist Luke Bryan appearing to, well, dump macadamia nuts on Katy Perry. At the end of the audition, Perry sent the brothers on their merry way, saying “It’s a 'no' for Idol; a 'yes' for life.”

Watch Colescott and A.J. Rubin perform "My Peanut Butter Baby" on American Idol:

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