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Caleb Johnson Wins American Idol XIII

Caleb Johnson may have auditioned for American Idol in seasons 10 and 11 and got cut both times, but on Wednesday night, the 23-year-old rocker proved perseverance and dedication is the driving force behind success. The Asheville, North Carolina native won the show’s 13th season, beating out 17-year-old Jena Irene for the title.

AI Caleb Johnson

Last night, American Idol rocked audiences with a 2-hour finale on Wednesday night featuring performances from John Legend, Jason Mraz, Kiss, Demi Lovato, Lady Antebellum and Season 11 winner, Phillip Phillips. It also showcased a first in Idol history with the judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., and judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson performing on-stage. But the biggest news and the reason for the show’s appeal was to find out who the winner of the coveted title was.

Even host, Ryan Seacrest took a turn crooning, proving as a singer he’s a great host. He was joined on Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting by the singer-songwriter.

After months, it all came down to one moment. Before the final results were revealed, Caleb Johnson, 23 of Asheville, North Carolina and Jena Irene, 17 of Farmington Hills, Michigan told each other, “You da bomb” before Seacrest declared the winner of Season 13 being Johnson.

Johnson who auditioned in seasons 10 and 11 of Idol, got through a few rounds but never made it far enough like he did this season. His efforts and perseverance have proven that hard work and disappointments can be the driving force to your goal. He is to receive a recording contract as this season’s champion.

It was an extremely close race as many predicted that Jena Irene, known early on in the season as the wildcard, would take the title but so it appears, Season 13 was Johnson’s lucky number. His win came on the strength of his renditions Tuesday night of Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “As Long as You Love Me”, intended as his first single. Irene sang “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine, Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and the track intended for her single, “We Are One”.

“This is a guy that has worked so hard and wanted it so badly, and that’s all paid off tonight” Ryan Seacrest announced last night to the crowd.

Earlier today, Johnson took to Twitter to thank his fans.

Johnson emerged victoriously despite suffering from a vocal cord hemorrhage just before finals, but said his look and sound is so different from most Idol champs. “I think for me, winning opens doors to all types of shapes and sizes and genres to come on the show and kill it,” he told reporters Wednesday night shortly after his big win. “I’m probably the antithesis of what American Idols have been.”

You can purchase Caleb’s single, “As Long As You Love Me” from iTunes. Johnson’s debut album releases August 12.

Image Credit: FOX/19 Entertainment

American Idol, which hit a peak of 30.3 million viewers in the 2005-06 season, was drawing audiences in the single-digit millions this year, but that didn’t stop fans from tuning in week after week. Throughout the history of the show, American Idol has launched the careers of stars including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Jennifer Hudson.

Week after week, our very Idol expert Andrew Rogers recapped and highlighted the best of Season 13, with predictions of who would make it to the next round. Idol fans can re-live all of Season 13 here.

Congratulations Caleb Johnson and all the contestants for a rocking season! 

Follow Caleb Johnson on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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