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.


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.


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.


‘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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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‘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.


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

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


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


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.)


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

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…


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.


American Idol Season 13 Top 4 with host Ryan Seacrest

A 10-city Bus Tour schedule can also be seen at

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Retards comment puts Caleb Johnson’s fate in the balance

After last week’s performance, American Idol XIII resident rocker Caleb Johnson went down from being the strongest contender to the most voted contestant to go home this week.


Caleb Johnson in different moods

It’s not because of his not-so-sterling rendition of Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing but his remarks of fans who spam his Twitter feeds of songs they want him to perform.

The worst thing is, which offended not a few of his supporters, he called those who flood requests as retards.

Click link to view interview

Although the tone of Caleb’s voice was not on the warpath, viewers were astonished at what came out of his mouth.

“Twitter gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me. I don’t really enjoy having to see somebody telling me what song I have to sing. I think at this point of the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs and represent me. I don’t need 10,000 people saying, ‘You should sing this, you should sing that. Listen to me!’ Fortunately, guys, I’m going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not.”

Viewers took to Twitter to express their disgust.

“I don’t appreciate being called a retard. I was a fan who occasionally wanted you to sing certain songs. WAS. Bye” – Kyle Brooks.

“Huge fan Caleb but having an autistic brother I lost a lot of respect for you with the ‘retard’ comment. Not cool, bro.” – Sophia Rose Hagen

“as much as it pains me, I’m unfollowing @CalebPJohnson on twitter. I’ll need an apology before I debase myself enough to keep flwing him.” – doodette


Touted by many as the best set of judges thus far: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr.

On May 4, Caleb apologized thru his Facebook official fan page, but not on Twitter.

“For the record that juvenile comment I made in the interview was not directed towards my fans but to the wackos that send hundreds of hate messages a day to me! You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Sorry if it offended anybody it was the wrong choice of words. Also I greatly appreciate it when you guys give me song suggestions but it gets really overwhelming at the volume it comes in so please understand! Rock on!:)”


Host Ryan Seacrest: Idol through the years

Hardcore fans defended him but others pointed out his apology was out of sync, as he called those asking him to perform songs he did not like as retards in the interview, but said on Facebook he meant it for wackos that send him hate messages.

In the American Idol Top 4 Pre-Performance Poll Monday, Caleb topped it with 29.54% as against Jena Irene 26.31%, Alex Preston 24.46% and Jessica Meuse 19.69%.

The poll is “to pick who you feel will go home BEFORE hearing the Top 4 sing on Wednesday 5/7/14.”


Who will be American Idol 2014?

Viewers are excited who among the Top 4—Caleb, Alex, Jena or Jessica—can tug their heart strings the most with this week’s theme “Breakups and Makeups.”

Whether Caleb Johnson can sail through the finals with his candidness or that will spell doom for him will be known on Thursday.

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After ‘American Idol XIII’ elimination: Fil-Am Malaya Watson sets eyes on acting; Dexter Roberts on Nashville, hunting show

Many cried or got so sad when Malaya Watson was eliminated earlier than expected. But the teener with Filipino roots from Southfield, Michigan is positive about everything. After all, she already set a record for being the youngest contestant in the 13-year history of American Idol.


Malaya’s FB pic greeting everyone Happy Easter!

Her legions of fans and supporters will get to see her perform live in the Idol Tour after the new winner is proclaimed by the third week of May.

Malaya, who was supposed to play the tuba in her next performance had she not been eliminated, said the journey continues for her.

“I did what I wanted to do and I’m glad I came out doing what I like. Thanks, guys. You guys are the best, and just stay tuned because I’m not done. I’m not done,” she told the media after she was bumped off from the competition.


Ryan Seacrest hugs Malaya

Her rendition of Chaka Khan’s Through The Fire in the ‘80s theme got her burned and did not deliver the needed votes to stay on. Also, since the judges already used their Save on Sam Woolf the previous week, they can no longer use it on Malaya, who was seen to have one of the competition’s biggest voices and the rawest potential of any of the Top 8.


Malaya back in school with friends

She also added that she’s glad to be able to finish school and now considering acting—movies, TV or stage.

Since she could no longer sing a Nat King Cole classic for Harry Connick Jr. in the show, the newest AI judge reportedly told her dad, “Don’t worry about it and we will probably see you soon.”


#ThrowALLtheWayBack ‘La Familia’ (Malaya is beside ‘lola’. Note the guys in barong)

Malaya said she hopes that Mr. Connick does as she really wanted to do that song for him, really badly.

Country singer Dexter Roberts was next to get the boot. He sang Lucky Man in the Competitor’s Choice last week but not lucky enough to stay longer. Together with him in the Bottom 2 was his duet partner, Jessica Meuse, who got an almost scathing review from the judges.


Dexter Roberts gives his all in final performance

Teary-eyed when his co-contestants surrounded him as he sang his final song on the show, he said that his immediate plan was to get home and sleep. He will continue with his singing career and hopefully have a hunting show one day. He clarified, though, that he’s not going to hunt his Idol successors, but “turkeys, ducks and whitetails!”

Nashville is just happy to have Dexter, as he’s heading there!


Top 6 surrounds teary-eyed Dexter Roberts

The Top 6: Jena Irene (considered the strongest contender as of last performance), Caleb Johnson (Jena’s duet partner and strongest competitor to be in the Final 2), Alex Preston (the only other contestant who has not gotten into Bottom 3 or Bottom 2), CJ Harris (already in the Bottom 3 or Bottom 2 3x), Sam Woolf (who was supposed to have been eliminated from Top 8 but was Saved), and Jessica Meuse.

Photos from (except Malaya‘s personal pics)

‘American Idol XIII’ Top 8 intact as Malaya Watson stays and Sam Woolf gets the Save

The Idols of Season 13 sang their audition pieces this week, and after the votes were in Dexter Roberts then Jena Irene were declared safe, followed by Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse and Alex Preston.

The Bottom 3 were Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf and CJ Harris.


Top 8 intact until next week

Sam sang for the Save—only one for the whole season—and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. were unanimous in keeping him for next week’s performance.

On Wednesday the Top 8 Idols gave a full rendition of their audition songs that impressed the judges and merited them tickets to Hollywood.


Malaya performs ‘Ain’t No Way’ by Aretha Franklin

Before Malaya performed her piece, her father Ron said that she waited until the last two hours of the audition in Detroit to decide as she was hesitant.

She said she was only 15 then and people were telling her she has all the time in the world but her mom was persistent in saying to go for it. So she went, and as everyone knows now, the rest is history.

Keith gave Malaya a standing ovation after her performance of Aretha Franklin’s Ain’t No Way, while JLo noted how she was “blossoming into a star right before our eyes.” Harry praised her as well, and reiterated his earlier advice of working on her runs to make them all in tune.


Sam Woolf and Malaya Watson singing ‘Lucky’

Everyone was really good—Jena’s tackling of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep with her very own version, Caleb who was told by Keith as rock Viking, CJ’s emotional performance for his father, Alex and Jessica’s original pieces, Dexter in his country style and Sam who was still timid onstage but showed his vocal prowess.

The duets also showed how the Idols collaborate with each other—Caleb and Jessica, Sam and Malaya, Jena and Alex, and CJ and Dexter.

Sam and Malaya sang Lucky by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz.


Season 13 Idols Duets

In the rundown of support, the two are the preferred contestants by those 21 years old and younger along with CJ and Jessica whereas those over 21 prefer Jessica, CJ, Sam and Malaya, in that order.

Season 5 4th placer Chris Daughtry performed Waiting For Superman on Results Night. He reprised the look when host Ryan Seacrest said he could not forget the look on Daughtry’s face at the time of announcement he was to say to goodbye.

Next week’s theme will be the ‘80s.


Touted as the Best Set of Judges

See Malaya perform Aretha Franklin’s Aint No Way here and her duet with Sam Woolf at These videos lead you to the individual performances of the rest of Top 8 and the duet numbers.

For Daughtry fans, see his performance here:

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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).



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.”


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.


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.


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

Photos from


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Top 10 Songs available on iTunes