Caleb Johnson Crowned American Idol Winner; Album Scheduled for August

American Idol winner Caleb Johnson
American Idol winner Caleb Johnson's album will be released on August 12, 2014

In a showdown that host Ryan Seacrest dubbed the "Wild Card versus the Wild Child," Ashville, NC rocker Caleb Johnson, age 23, was crowned the winner of American Idol season 13. The 1st runner-up was Farmington Hills, MI's Jena Irene, age 17, who was the show's second "Wild Card" contestant to make it to the grand finale, the first being Clay Aiken in season 2 (Aiken made news this week when he won the NC Democratic congressional primary). Following his win, Caleb has a full schedule including television appearances, American Idol's 41-city tour and the release of his self-titled album (19 Recordings/Interscope Records) on August 12.

On May 20, the first night of American Idol's two-part finale at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, Jena and Caleb performed their last judged numbers of the season. Jena sang "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + The Machine, "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley and her single "We Are One." Caleb sang "Dream On" by Aerosmith, "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney and his single "As Long As You Love Me."

On May 21, the duo opened AI's final show with rousing renditions of Queen's "We Will Rock You," No Doubt's "Just a Girl," and Tina Turner and Bryan Adams' "It's Only Love." For their celebrity duets, Jena sang "Ain't It Fun" with her favorite band, Paramore, and Caleb sang "Shout It Out Loud" with KISS. Caleb's younger brother Houston, an avid KISS fan, sported Paul Stanley's signature "Starchild" makeup and joined them onstage after the number.

During the two-hour finale, the American Idol audience was also treated to performances by recording artists including John Legend, Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc, Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker, and American Idol season 11 winner, Phil Phillips. Contestant mentor/bass player Randy Jackson performed with judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez (who also did a solo number). Their mash-up started with Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," then transitioned into Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way"; the highlight was Keith's smoking guitar solo. Ryan Seacrest also got in on the action; he made his singing debut when he joined Richard Marx on stage for “Right Here Waiting.”

At the end of the show, the finalists took center stage and Ryan made the life-altering announcement: the winner of American Idol season 13 was Caleb Johnson. Due to the overwhelming emotion of the moment, Caleb had some difficulty performing his single, “As Long As You Love Me,” but rallied and sang a few bars under a blizzard of confetti.

As the newly-crowned American Idol winner, Caleb will appear on LIVE with Kelly and Michael and sing the national anthem at PBS’s 25th Annual National Memorial Day Concert. Then he'll hit the road with the American Idol 41-city tour that kicks off on in Binghamton, NY on June 24, and wraps in in Redmond, WA, on Saturday, August 23. For more info visit Caleb Johnson's self-titled album on 19 Recordings/Interscope Records is scheduled for an August 12 release and is available now for pre-order on iTunes.

Caleb will get a least one break from his hectic American Idol duties; he's Jena's date for her upcoming prom.

Credit: Caleb Johnson album cover courtesy Interscope Records

Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014