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


‘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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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)

Fil-Am Malaya Watson says goodbye to ‘American Idol’ dream

After almost everyone’s lackluster ‘80s performance on Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), America voted who should stay as Top 7 on Idol Season 13. Not one got a standing ovation from the judges.

The contestants were mentored by American Idol Season 9 winner David Cook.


Malaya Watson

The sad thing is, it’s Filipino-American Malaya Watson who got eliminated, as the judges already used their Save on Sam Woolf last week.

Malaya performed Chaka Khan’s Through The Fire, and honestly, it wasn’t as sterling as her other performances.

On Results Night (Thursday, Friday morning in Manila), host Ryan Seacrest called Dexter (Roberts), Caleb (Johnson), Jessica (Meuse) and CJ (Harris) to get the first in the Bottom 2.

First declared safe was Caleb, then Jessica, and Dexter. CJ waited for the other contestant in the Bottom 2.


‘American Idol XIII’ Top 8 after ’80s performance with host Ryan Seacrest

The rest of the Top 8 were called—Sam, Malaya, Alex (Preston) and Jena (Irene)—and former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson said that Malaya could be in trouble with the votes as she hit some of the notes but also did not hit some.

After the review of the performances, Ryan announced Alex was safe, then Jena, and Sam, who looked surprised of the announcement.


CJ Harris

Jackson was proven correct. Malaya then joined CJ. When the results were read, it was the 16-year-old tuba player from Southfield, Michigan who was to leave the competition.

Jennifer Lopez was teary-eyed as Malaya performed her final song, I Am Changing. The judges gave her standing ovation.


Sam Woolf

The youngest contestant this season, as part of Top 10, Malaya will get in touch with her fans and supporters during the nationwide tour.

Filipinos may also get to see the Season 13 Idols if and when the tour includes Manila, as in Season 10, when the winner was Scotty McCreery and Fil-Am Thia Megia was in the Top 10.


‘Who’s known for earrings like Malaya’s?’ asked Ryan

Watch the announcement and Malaya’s performance of her final song, I Am Changing, here:

Photos from

‘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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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

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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