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!


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.


‘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

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.


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


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


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.


Ryan Seacrest with Richard Marx on the piano

(Click link to watch their performance

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.


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


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 !”


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.

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See related stories: 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


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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Sam Woolf leaves ‘AI XIII’ sans tears; Malaya digs having no braces

Heartthrob Sam Woolf finally leaves the American Idol XIII stage as the Judges’ Save was already used on him in Top 8.

Unlike last week when CJ Harris turned the studio into a big weeping room, the only one seen teary for Sam was Jena Irene, touted as one of the two strongest contenders, along with Caleb Johnson.


Host Ryan Seacrest with the Top 4 huddle around Sam Woolf as he leaves ‘American Idol XIII’

CJ was not able to finish his song, Jennifer Lopez was in tears, fans were sobbing, so with the others in Top 6.

In Sam’s case, his elimination was greeted with acceptance, except maybe for Keith Urban, who signified his disapproval by his gesture. However, Keith sang along as Sam performed his final song, Imagine DragonsI’m Never Changing Who I Am.

On Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), the Top 5 sang two songs each chosen by America for them with the hashtag #IdolRequest. Jason Mraz mentored the contestants with surprise appearances of Ariana Grande for Sam and Zooey Deschanel for Alex.


Mentor Jason Mraz

There was a twist in the results. The contestants themselves had the option to send home the one in the bottom immediately or send two next week instead. As it was not unanimous, Ryan Seacrest announced that when the votes were in it was Sam Woolf going home.

Sam was supposed to have been sent home ahead of Malaya Watson but was given another chance when the judges unanimously decided to keep him another week. He survived again when Dexter Roberts bade goodbye after the Fil-Am teener from Southfield, Michigan and still made it to Top 5 when CJ Harris packed his bags.

Season 13 becomes more tense with the Top 4 slugging it out who will be proclaimed American Idol 2014—resident rocker Caleb Johnson, country cool Jessica Meuse, steady Alex Preston or chanteuse Jena Irene.


Keith Urban, who took the challenge of wearing coat and tie last week, takes a selfie with co-judges Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez

Jessica had been in the Bottom 3 once and in Bottom 2 twice. The other three have never in the bottom yet.

Generally, it is seen that Caleb and Jena will be the last two standing come finale.

Meanwhile, Malaya Watson excitedly shared her selfie Thursday smiling saying she’s really diggin’ the no braces deal.


Malaya Watson digs having no braces

Harry Connick Jr. commented in one of the earlier episodes that Malaya made wearing glasses and braces look cool.

Now that Malaya no longer dons braces, will she be wearing contact lenses instead of glasses soon? A lot of her fans think she’d be more beautiful sans the glasses.

Early this week, Malaya welcomed questions sent thru Instagram but because of the volume she fell asleep and apologized she can no longer answer all the messages. However, she’d love to interact by mail. For those interested, you can write to her at:

Malaya Watson
PO Box #725376
Berkley, MI
48075 USA

Photos from and Malaya’s Facebook page.

‘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


From ‘American Idol XIII’ Top 3 to Bottom 3: Malaya Watson must perform right songs to rally votes and stay in contention

Tuba player-turned-singer Malaya Watson from Southfield, Michigan experienced being in the Bottom 3 early on American Idol Season 13.

The votes were enough though for her to get another shot at becoming the next Idol when Wild Card Kristen O’Connor did not get the unanimous vote needed from the three judges to stay on.


While Jennifer praised Malaya’s stage presence, she also said “it wasn’t your best vocal performance.” Harry noticed Malaya’s nerves were on high alert for the first finalist performance, while Keith noted Malaya’s contagious energy. (

Harry Connick Jr. explained that for the Judges Save to work it has to be unanimous but it wasn’t in the case of Kristen. The other aspirant in the Bottom 3 was MK Nobilette.

In Season 11, Jessica Sanchez was saved from exiting the show when judges Jennifer Lopez, Steve Tyler and Randy Jackson went on stage while the Filipino-American singer from California was singing her swan song. Jessica went on to challenge Phillip Phillips in the finale, which the WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) won.

Nothing like that happened in Season 12, with only Jackson left among the judges of Season 11, but with Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj joining him in selecting the winner, Candice Glover.

Sixteen-year-old Malaya did great during the auditions in Detroit,  earning her a ticket to Hollywood. She performed well and got to the Top 30.

She clarified how to pronounce her name correctly, telling Harry Connick Jr. that it means freedom. Although it actually means free and freedom is kalayaan in Filipino, it’s acceptable for those who understand. (

ImageSeason 13 judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

As to her Filipino connection, she said that she’s been to the Philippines 10 years ago and her mom cooks “chicken adobo, pancit, ensaymadas, all that.”

She also said that “it’s awesome to have a whole area supporting you” like how Filipinos supported Jessica Sanchez.


Season 11 finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez

(Click the link for the PacificRimVideoPress interview)

In the Top 30, only 10 girls and 10 boys were selected by the judges to sing and from there selected the Top 10. Three were added as Wild Cards to make a total of Top 13.

Malaya was the last girl to be called to perform and the first one to be called to make it to Top 5 girls. The other Fil-Am, Marrialle Sellars, did not make the cut.

On Wednesday night the Top 13 contestants were tasked with performing songs that convey the theme This is Me. Malaya sang Bruno Mars’ Runaway Baby.


Host Ryan Seacrest and former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson

The idea was to pick a song that would define each singer as an artist and a person. Randy Jackson was on hand to give his take on the performers before they hit the stage, as he metamorphosized from judge to mentor.

Posted on the Net are varied reactions about the eliminations.

Malaya should tone down her performance for next week. She kind of overdid things this week so it ended up being messy and maybe viewers felt turned off by it. Pleased that she was saved though.– SilverStrumer

It was the right result but I think that Dexter and/or CJ should have been in the bottom3 based on their performances! — Mary Al


Season 13 Top 13

 American(s) got it wrong. Kristen has so much to bring!<3 I wish she brought out the guitar again. I know she will continue to be a shining star though!– David Griffin

 Malaya needs to calm down. Great voice but too over the top makes it all messy. And try not to move a lot. Thanks. — newginafits2009

 I think Malaya just chose the wrong song. Her voice is so much better than Kristen. Just my opinion.– lolivi meiny

 While I agree that Malaya’s performance this week is way poor than Kristen but overall it is Malaya’s talent and vibrant personality shine brighter than anyone else in the competition! 😀 — Jebb Cabriana


 Idk how Kristen made it that far, she was so boring. But Malaya has to step it up her voice is amazing and she has to show that… — alliyah


Harry Connick Jr. commented how Malaya made glasses and braces look cool.

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