A couple of weeks ago, I started a thread on what AI and TPTB should have learned from this season. I'm considerably more optimistic that Ruben and Clay can learn things, so here's my starter list of what they'll need to learn. Some suggestions are for both of them, some for one more than the other.
How to separate: For the time being, they're being treated like Siamese twins, but that won't last much longer. Maybe they'll make a movie together, maybe they won't, but in the fairly near future they'll have different careers and they'll both have to become Mr. Independent.
How to separate from American Idol: It won't happen this year or next, but it will happen.
The positives and negatives of winning; the positives and negatives of coming in second: In the short run, it's harder to come in second; in the long run it's probably harder to come in first.
What money can and cannot do: I'm not sure either one of them has any idea of how much money they're going to make in the short run, or how much they may make if they stay in music for years to come. Clay says he wants to pay off the mortgage on his mother's house; I suspect that's doable. He also says he wants to start a foundation. I suspect that's not doable. What he should do is contact the National Autism Foundation (or whatever it's called) and offer his services as a spokesperson/fundraiser. He'll accomplish the same (continuing to help in a field that's important to him), but at considerably less financial risk.
How to select songs. And how to convey to whomever which songs will work best for each one of them.
Shifts in family. All families change, but both Clay's and Ruben's have changed dramatically from being in the spotlight. Again, there are positives and negatives, but either way, the changes have to be dealt with.
How to deal with negative media: Clay has more experience with this than Ruben, although if Clay gets as big as many of us Clay fans think he will, he'll have a lot more of it than he (or us) will care for. Ruben has only had a couple of tabloid negative articles so far, but as the title holder, he will face a lot more. If his career takes hold, then his weight could be as speculated on as much as Oprah's. Ruben and Clay were both created by television, and the media is rarely kind to television creations.
How to avoid temptation: They're going to be offered lots and lots of things that look good at the time but could prove poisonous later.
How to have a healthy lifestyle on the road: This is much harder than you might suspect.
How to deal with their fans: If it's true that teenage girls are already throwing themselves on Clay's limo, then it's only going to get worse.
How to deal with the images that have been created for them: Clay must be sick to death of all the talk (and video) of his changeover, but at least it's out in the open and will soon be forgotten (assuming his career develops a life of its own). The most interesting aspect of AI that I've seen discussed nowhere is what was done to Ruben's image. I'm not talking about 205 shirts vs. non-205 shirts. I'm talking about taking a very large powerful man, a football player, and treating him as someone childlike and non-threatening. Think (as apparently no one has done) of what would have happened if someone had called Clay a velvet teddy bear? Think what would have happened if someone on an opposing football team had called Ruben that? Ruben was desexualized on AI. It worked for him and for them as long as the show was on the air, but Ruben is going to have to decide if he wants to continue in that harmless/lovable/non-masculine role. I am not suggesting that Ruben is anything other than an intelligent, strong, peaceloving, happily heterosexual gentleman (I know Ruben fans can be protective). But AI emphasized the cuddly aspect of his appearance/personality, and Ruben may or may not want that to be his lasting image.
How to have fun: Heck, even I think they're entitled to some!