Rockin’ Caleb Johnson crowned American Idol 2014; Fil-Am Malaya Watson privileged to sing ‘All Of Me’ with no less than John Legend

A male rocker, not the usual country singer WGWG (White Guy With Guitar), wins American Idol XIII: Caleb Johnson of Asheville, North Carolina!

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Caleb Johnson sings his debut single as ‘American Idol XIII’ winner

The 23-year-old former lead vocalist of a rock ’n roll band won over 17-year-old Jena Irene Asciutto of Farmington Hills, Michigan when the votes were tallied and announced Wednesday at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

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‘American Idol XIII’ Top 2 Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson sing together on grand finale night

(Click link for the announcement of Caleb as American Idol 2014 winner http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1vzny1_final-results-american-idol-winner-crowned-idol-13_people)

Both finalists sang three songs each on Tuesday – American Idol Executive Producer Simon Fuller’s Choice, Contestant’s Idol Performance Choice and their debut single.

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Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

Caleb’s triumph is attributed to his strong performances of Dream On by former American Idol judge Steve Tyler of Aerosmith, Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney of the Beatles and As Long As You Love Me written by Justin Hawkins.

As Long As You Love Me is available on iTunes http://bit.ly/1nXVcq8

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Jena Irene with her favorite Paramore

Jena Irene, on the other hand, performed Dog Days Are Over by Florence And The Machine, Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love and We Are One written by Mitch Allan, Anne Preven and Felicia Barton.

Jena’s We Are One is available on iTunes http://bit.ly/1nXUTvB

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Caleb with the legendary KISS

The electric two-hour grand finale started with the video of Caleb and Jena’s auditions, then they came out on stage performing together.

The judges – Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. – along with former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson also performed.

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Ryan Seacrest with Richard Marx on the piano

(Click link to watch their performance http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1vzmg8_hd-jlo-keith-harry-randy-medley-american-idol-13-finale_people)

Even host Ryan Seacrest had his own singing moment with the legendary Richard Marx for Right Here Waiting.

Unlike in previous seasons, Ryan did not disclose the number of votes cast and the difference between the winner and the runner-up this time.

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The judges in a knockout performance

Other performances on grand finale night were third placer Alex Preston with Jason Mraz singing Love Someone together, Demi Lovato with the Idol girls, Aloe Blacc with the Idol boys, Sam Woolf with American Idol 2012 winner Phillip Phillips, Jennifer Lopez doing solo for her new single First Love, John Legend with Malaya Watson, Jena with Paramore and Caleb with KISS.

(Click link to watch John Legend’s performance of You And I, after which he sings his monster hit All Of Me with Malaya Watson http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1vzgvs_malaya-watson-john-legend-all-of-me-american-idol-13-finale_music)

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John Legend raises the hand of Malaya Watson, who’s sporting a new look sans glasses and braces, after singing ‘All Of Me’

Soon after his proclamation, Caleb posted on Facebook expressing his gratitude to those who have been with him in this journey:

“Wow what an incredible journey thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart this is absolutely amazing I am at loss for words right now !!! Thank you to all the amazing people who watched voted and supported me throughout this show !! I cannot wait to release some original soulful heavy rock n roll music for you in the coming months !!! God bless each and everyone of you !!!:) What an honor and privilege ! Thank you all so much !”

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Friends forever: Caleb’s going to be Jena’s prom escort

The new American Idol’s self-titled debut album will be released on August 12, 2014. His single is currently #162 on iTunes Top 200.

Meanwhile, the next season is reportedly going to be a one-night two-hour show instead of one-hour two-night program. It’s still going to be two nights during the audition episodes, though. Ryan Seacrest signed up for another year of hosting and the judges of Season 13 will be the same for Season 14.

Photos from www.americanidol.com

See related stories: Magnificent Jena Irene, Rockin’ Caleb Johnson to battle it out in ‘American Idol XIII’ Finale https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/magnificent-jena-irene-rockin-caleb-johnson-to-battle-it-out-in-american-idol-xiii-finale/ and Retards comment puts Caleb Johnson’s fate in the balance https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/retards-comment-puts-caleb-johnsons-ai-xiii-fate-in-the-balance/

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Magnificent Jena Irene, Rockin’ Caleb Johnson to battle it out in ‘American Idol XIII’ finale

Like the others before them, the Hometown Visit was emotional and enthralling for the American Idol XIII Top 3: Jena Irene Asciutto in Farmington Hills, Michigan; Caleb Johnson in Asheville, North Carolina; and Alex Preston in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire.

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Ryan brought Jena on stage to watch the playback from her hometown visit the weekend before 

Thousands of relatives, friends, supporters and townmates came to welcome their heroes and watch them perform live before their very eyes after more than three months of watching their journey to Idol-hood on national TV.

The mayors and governors of their hometown and home state declared the day of their arrival as their Day. There is now in history a Jena Irene Asciutto Day, Caleb Johnson Day and Alex Preston Day.

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Caleb, with his big little brother on stage next to him, got the rather incredible news that he’ll be performing with the legendary band KISS at the finale! While Caleb looked thrilled at the news, his little brother was even more excited!

It is also in front of their townmates that they told the audience the song that the judges – Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. – chose for them in the sing-off Wednesday. The Top 3 also learned what was the Hometown Choice for them.

The first round was mentor Randy Jackson’s Choice, which proved to be just a warm-up for all three: Caleb for Never Tear Us Apart by INXS, Alex for Pompeii (he played the drums while singing) by Bastille, and Jena for Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia.

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‘American Idol XIII’ judges – Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

The second round – Judges Choice – was off for Caleb who was sick (his doctor was even called by host Ryan Seacrest on stage to make sure that the new rockstar can finish his repertoire until the end of the show) with his rendition of Imagine DragonsDemons. Alex was praised for his rendition of Stay by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko. Jena sailed through with Heart Attack by Demi Lovato.

The third and final round – Hometown Choice – put Caleb back in the running with Dazed And Confused by Led Zeppelin. He performed like it was his own concert, bringing the audience and JLo and Keith to their feet. Harry was his usual self, did not budge even when JLo tried to snatch him from his chair for standing ovation.

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Host Ryan Seacrest with the Top 3 before the announcement who’s going to be in the finale

Alex’s performance of One Direction’s Story Of My Life pulled him down from his performance in the second round. His rendition during Top 10 was even better.

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Jena gets the first ticket to the finale

Jena reprised Creep by Radiohead, which she sang during Top 7. Her rendition ended the show with a big bang – with Keith saying it was terrific, JLo calling it magnificent, and Harry declaring it as brilliant.

Right after his performance of Stay, Alex seemed to have the premonition that he won’t be in the finals as he said he gave his all as it could be his last performance in the sing-off.

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Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery performs his new single, Feelin’ It

On Thursday, after the votes were in, the only girl of the three, Jena Irene, was the first to be called by Ryan to be in the finale. And to battle it out with her is Caleb Johnson.

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Alex Preston sings goodbye as Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson watch him in the background

Alex watched his American Idol journey as played on the screen, then he sang his final song, self-composed Fairytale. There were no tears, just tight hugs from Jena and Caleb, who told him “I love you” a number of times.

The best thing for Alex is that he will be performing with his idol Jason Mraz on Finale Night. Jena will be performing with Paramore and Caleb with KISS.

The finale next week will be on Tuesday (8 p.m. CST) with the announcement on Wednesday (7 p.m. CST), instead of Wednesday and Thursday.

Photos from http://www.americanidol.com

‘American Idol XIII’ Top 3 revealed: Jena, Caleb, Alex in anticipated Hometown Visit

Quite expectedly, as she’s been in the bottom several times, Jessica Meuse sang her final song on American Idol Season 13 Thursday, missing out the Hometown Visit, which she said she wanted so badly.

First revealed by host Ryan Seacrest to qualify for the Top 3 was Jena Irene, considered by many as the strongest contender since Top 10 and who’ve had no issues either with her fans and supporters or fellow contestants.

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Jena Irene Asciutto

The 17-year-old senior high school student (confirmed to graduate in June) from Farmington Hills, Michigan gave the strongest performance of the night on Wednesday with her stylized rendition of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love which she dedicated to her mom in time of Mother’s Day.

(Click link to view Jena’s performance that had Jennifer Lopez go up and kiss her after and which made Keith Urban comment Jena as musical platypus http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1tij97_jena-irene-can-t-help-falling-in-love-american-idol-top-4_music)

Former judge turned mentor Randy Jackson said it was “one of the greatest performances in Idol history.”

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Caleb Johnson (Asheville, North Carolina) was the second to qualify.

Amid brouhaha on his retards comment in an interview after the Top 4 were named, Caleb’s consistent performances on the show and continued support from viewers despite all the issues has made him a shoo-in for the finale.

(See related story Retards comment puts Caleb Johnson’s fate in the balance https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/retards-comment-puts-caleb-johnsons-ai-xiii-fate-in-the-balance/)

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Alex Preston (Mont Vernon, New Hampshire) was the other contestant left with Jessica to fight it out for the last slot for the awaited Hometown Visit. His face showed a mixture of emotions when it was confirmed he’s in the Top 3—that of relief and maybe sadness for friend Jess. (They’ve been partnered in their last sojourn around town to go to places that have what they missed most.)

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Jessica Meuse sings goodbye

Jessica held back her tears as she was given to own the stage once again. Unlike CJ Harris who was not able to finish his final song, the talented singer-songwriter from Slapout, Alabama was able to finish her original song, Blue Eyed Lie, to the last note.

The Top 3 then surrounded her as the judges also came up to the stage to hug her goodbye.

(As Fox does not allow access of its contents outside USA, credit goes to dailymotion for posting clips where internet access is available anywhere in the world http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1tnx5f_one-singing-says-goodbye-american-idol-top-4-results_music)

Soon after her elimination, Jessica posted this message for her supporters on Twitter:

Jess Meuse @JessMeuse

I ain’t done yet!!!! Thank you all with all my heart and soul for being the amazing people you are…

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Jennifer Lopez reacts to Jena’s mesmerizing performance as Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. smile with approval

Auditions for American Idol Season 14 in five key cities are scheduled as follows: Minneapolis June 18, New Orleans June 25, New York July 23, Nashville July 30 and San Francisco September 29.

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American Idol Season 13 Top 4 with host Ryan Seacrest

A 10-city Bus Tour schedule can also be seen at www.americanidol.com/auditions

Photos from www.americanidol.com

Fil-Am Malaya journeys to ‘AI XIII’ Top 8 via ‘The Long And Winding Road’

The road to the finals is indeed long and winding. And Filipino-American Malaya Watson journeyed to the Circle of 8 with her rendition of the BeatlesThe Long And Winding Road on Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila).

 

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Malaya Watson performs ‘The Long And Winding Road’ by the Beatles

Theme for the week was I’m With The Band, the goal of which was to act as front man for a real band live onstage.

Judge Jennifer Lopez said Malaya’s voice stands out above everybody else and sounds like the sweetness of young Michael Jackson. Keith Urban said she “chose a performance that shows us your voice” and “that performance showed us your spirit.” Harry Connick Jr. meanwhile said he’s giving her “the awards for consistently improving.”

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Majesty Rose York with host Ryan Seacrest after her performance on Wednesday

In the announcement of who’s going home on Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila), voted off was Majesty Rose York, who performed Shake It Out by Florence + The Machines. It was Majesty’s third time to be in the Bottom 3. Others in the Bottom 3 were CJ Harris and Sam Woolf.

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American Idol Season 13 Top 9

First to be declared safe were Jena Irene and Malaya.

To get the Judges Save, York performed Pharrell WilliamsHappy. Keith Urban said it was the hardest deliberation they had, but no, it’s not unanimous, so the 21-year-old pre-school teacher from Goldsboro, North Carolina goes home.

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Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

The Fil-Am teener from Southfield, Michigan esteems Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles as her biggest influences, as she sings and plays the piano (aside from tuba) like those two musical greats.

See Malaya’s performance here http://youtu.be/_ZFhFyBhzDA

Photos from http://www.americanidol.com

 

Malaya enters ‘American Idol XIII’ Magic 9, MK goes home

She sang Pink’s Perfect, but it wasn’t perfect for the judges and the audience. So after three times in the Bottom 3 of American Idol Season 13, MK Nobilette of San Francisco, California gets eliminated. The good thing, though, is that after the finals she still goes with the rest of the Top 10 for the Live Tour.

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Flowers for Malaya from host Ryan Seacrest and American Idol production staff

On the other hand, Filipino-American Malaya Watson of Southfield, Michigan impressed the judges with her rendition of Bruno MarsWhen I Was Your Man and one of the first two contestants to be declared safe in last Thursday’s announcement (Friday morning in Manila). Mars is also Filipino-American.

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Behind the scenes with Malaya at the dressing room

Jennifer Lopez said she had goosies (goosebumps) again with Malaya’s performance and wondered how the teener would render the lyrics. Lopez (who performed her latest single I Luh Ya Papi along with Season 11 runner-up Fil-Am Jessica Sanchez and two other AI alumnae) said she’s glad Malaya kept the song as it is.

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American Idol XIII judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

Part of the lyrics of When I Was Your Man says, “That I should have bought your flowers…” and host Ryan Seacrest gave the pot of red roses sitting on top of the piano to Malaya at the end of her performance. He let her read the note and the postscript said it’s charged to Harry Connick Jr.’s credit card to the delight of the audience.

Last week, it was Malaya who ended the show with her rendition of I Am Changing by Idol stalwart Jennifer Hudson from the movie Dreamgirls. Malaya was on top of the heap and it was Ben Riley who went home in that episode.

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MK Nobilette

Aside from Malaya, Alex Preston got the accolades for his version of One Direction’s Story Of My Life. Keith Urban said it was the best performance for the night, JLo said she was so in the song with him, and Harry said he hit the bullseye in the artistry department. Jena Irene was the other girl who got the nod for her rendition of Clarity by Zedd/Foxes.

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Alex Preston

Some of the people watching at home cringed with CJ Harris’ pitchy performance of Invisible by Hunter Hayes. His out-of-tune singing was quite visible to the judges, especially Harry who gave him a piece of advice on correct pitch.

Majesty Rose who was in the Bottom 3 last week got in the Bottom 3 again, along with Dexter Roberts.

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The Top 10 with Ryan Seacrest

The Magic 9 contenders are Jessica Meuse, Malaya Watson, Alex Preston, Caleb Johnson, CJ Harris, Jena Irene, Sam Woolf, Majesty Rose and Dexter Roberts.

Photos from http://www.americanidol.com

Top 10 Songs available on iTunes http://www.americanidol.com/news/download-top-10-performances-on-itunes