Season 13 of 'American Idol' names Caleb Johnson as the big winner this year. The persistence of the 23-year-old from Asheville, North Carolina finally paid off; Johnson had tried out and been booted twice before in previous seasons. 2nd place went to Jena Irene, the teen-aged singer that favors pop-rock covers. Irene honestly displayed a better 'idol' presence and ability on the finale stage than Johnson did, in my opinion. But that is usually the case. For some reason with Idol, when it comes to the final two or three contestants, the clear stand out talent usually loses out to the "crowd favorite". And that was definitely the case this year with Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene. Fair is fair though, Johnson is still pretty good in his own right.
While Caleb Johnson is sure on his way to a decent record deal, with hopes of debuting a cover of "As Long As You Love Me" as his first single, the show has certainly lost some of its appeal, and audience. It'll be hard to imagine Johnson, even as likeable as he is, parlaying this season's American Idol
stardom into any kind of real, lasting career. Maybe back in '05 or '06 when the show was topping the charts, drawing in obscene viewership upwards of 30 million plus for finales. But now American Idol
meddles in the upper-middle class of the Nelson ratings, lucky to be considered a top 20 show. Viewership is still in the millions, just single-digit millions now vs a few dozen. Big difference.
The viewership issue is nothing new to reality TV. Or Fox. Idol is just running its course with the short attention span of its audience, and the need to always "keep it fresh, keep it new, and keep it current". If you have watched Idol with any regularity over the past decade (aside from the constant judging changes and cameos), that's been a major issue with the show. With talent show's eclipsing Idol like 'The Voice', Fox has announced that they plan to cut American Idol
from 2 nights a week down to 1 for the next iteration. That will dramatically change the format of the show, as fans have been long used to having one night for performances and a voting window, followed by one night of dramatic, albeit drawn out voting results announced.
Here is Caleb Johnson performing "As Long As You Love Me" on the 2-hour finale episode. This is the song that you and I will be hearing on the radio and seeing on MTV trying to top the Top 40 charts in the coming months. For Caleb's sake, I honestly hope it works out for him. The song is not terrible. He kind of even reminds me a bit of Meatloaf... sort of. I believe that is what he is going for with the hair.
Caleb Johnson - "As Long As You Love Me"
If you would like to check out the runner-up's performance of "We Are One", here is Jena Irene performing on the finale as well.
Jena Irene - "We Are One"