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American Idol XIII Finale - Press Room Winner Caleb Johnson poses in the press room at the ‘American Idol’ finale at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Winner Caleb Johnson poses in the press room at the ‘American Idol’ finale at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Published: Friday, 5/23/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago


‘American Idol’ crowns rocker its season 13 winner


LOS ANGELES — Big-voiced rocker Caleb Johnson is the season 13 American Idol, winning the title over teenage pop singer Jena Irene.

"This is crazy," Johnson said after host Ryan Seacrest announced the TV audience's decision on Wednesday's season finale of the Fox contest.

Johnson, 23, of Asheville, N.C., and Irene, 17, of Farmington Hills, Mich., told each other "you da bomb" before the result was revealed.

Runner-up Irene is getting a consolation prize: The two competitors and friends are set to attend her high school prom, Seacrest said.

Jena Irene arrives at the ‘American Idol’ finale. Jena Irene arrives at the ‘American Idol’ finale.

Seacrest did not announce the number of votes cast, as was routine when the show drew huge audiences and impressive vote tallies. American Idol, which long reigned as TV's top-rated show, now is a moderately successful, top 20 performer.

Johnson's win came on the strength of his renditions Tuesday of Dream On, Maybe I'm Amazed, and As Long as You Love Me, intended as his first single. Irene sang Dog Days Are Over, Can't Help Falling in Love, and We Are One.

He is to receive a recording contract as this season's champion.

The two-hour finale included performances by John Legend, KISS, Demi Lovato, and Lady Antebellum. It also showcased a song by judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr., with judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson joining in.

Even 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.

NBC's singing contest The Voice, which leapfrogged American Idol in the ratings, has leaned heavily on its performer-coaches to boost audience interest.

Fox, acknowledging the glory days of American Idol are behind it, said it likely will cut the show from two nights a week to one next season, after the initial auditions.

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