Posted: 7:22 pm Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Who won ‘American Idol’ season 13? 

By Rodney Ho

The 13th "American Idol" winner: Caleb Johnson. CREDIT: Fox

The 13th “American Idol” winner: Caleb Johnson. CREDIT: Fox

Caleb Johnson defeated Jena Irene to be the 13th “American Idol” in what I consider a mild upset.

Caleb looks utterly shocked. “This is crazy,” he said.

I called this one wrong. I predicted Jena.

Caleb, who tried out twice before but didn’t get very far, had a distinctive persona from day one: a rocker with elements from the 1970s and 1980s who could have been Meat Loaf’s love child. He already had confidence on stage from day one, fully formed as a performer even without coaching from “Idol.” He liked it loud and proud and had the voice to carry it forward. (His ability to go subtle? Not so great.)

Whether he has any relevance in 2014 is the big question for the record label. Odds he will have a radio hit? Slim.

Jena Irene was a wild-card entry who didn’t seem terribly singular at first. She appeared to be better at the piano than just standing on stage. Then her confidence grew and she showed her versatility. After an early appearance in the bottom three, she found her voice and built a fan base. She also took the judges’ advice and worked hard to improve her stage presence. Her ability to say words recognizable to human beings was a challenge but it added to the distinctive quality of her singing.

She is young and could be packaged with the right music to garner a pop hit or two.

While I had Caleb as the likely winner for much of the run, near the end I thought Jena had edged him out. But Caleb’s fans came through.

This year, as we all know, will be the quietest “Idol” finale in terms of audience size to date. I expect the “Survivor” finale may beat it. (Heck, last night, a repeat of “The Voice” beat a new edition of “Idol.”)

I was having a late dinner in Nashville (an hour behind) and missed the first hour. So here is my quick takes on hour two. I will update this when I get around to watching hour one though that might not be until later.

Jena Irene/Paramore (“Ain’t It Fun”) – I’m not a huge fan of this song but it shows Jena can work with the big girls. If anything, this does accentuate her weird enunciation issues.

John Legend/Malaya Watson (“All of Me”) – Pretty (overplayed) song. Malaya has clearly blossomed visually, now sans braces. Her vocals were decent but an odd contrast to Legend’s tone.

Alex Preston/ Jason Mraz – Alex loves Jason, who did a great job as a mentor earlier in the season. They meld really well together. Very effective.

Ryan Seacrest/Richard Marx (“Right Here Waiting”) – For the first time in 13 years, Ryan’s family (who all show up on camera) convince him to sing a song from his first concert at the Fabulous Fox Theatre: Richard Marx. Sure, Ryan is not a good singer. He’s pitchy and off key and all that jazz. But he put some effort into it and Marx eventually came out to save him. Marx? Lots of Botox and tanning spray. When told Marx was Ryan’s first concert, Marx cracked, “Glad it wasn’t Bryan Adams.”

The video highlighting the judges’ quirks reminds us how good this panel really was in terms of entertainment. And it’s amazing how J Lo was so much better as a judge between Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. than Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson.

Darius Rucker, Dexter Roberts, CJ Harris (“Alright”) – Darius’ voice is so distinctive and cool. CJ and Dexter in comparison? No comparison.

The judges and Randy Jackson (“True Colors”/”You Can Go Your Own Way”) – JLo tried to imitate Cyndi Lauper with mixed results. And she is dressed like she just had done the walk of shame with that frazzled hair. HCJ didn’t sound particularly good but Keith shined.

626 comments
RK_
RK_

What were they thinking?  I had no idea the first show was on Tuesday, so I missed it, and then skipped last night because I was behind.  Stupid to change the schedule.

someonesdad
someonesdad

American Idol is still a great show.  The tastes of American TV watchers have gone in the toilet.  That's the reason for the low ratings.

JONBONBON
JONBONBON

Ho, let me know what you thought of KISS who was without a doubt, the best act of the finale.

baconsmith1.
baconsmith1.

I missed last nights show but from what i read on the Internet I did not miss much since ratings went into the toilet this week. It is so sad to see such a one time great show fall so far down in the ratings so fast. I guess there is no real talent out there anymore and you can not have just judges talking every week. That is not exciting.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Thanks, D. Already miss the beautiful beach.


I thought Phillipx2 and Sam were great together. P2 sounds really good - sooooo glad he won his season. And he's got that great thing that Kelly and most other really big stars have - you can always recognize his voice on the radio.


JLo looked royally p!$$ed when Caleb was announced the winner. HaHa. She had a pinchy look to her mouth, and nary a smile did I see.


Off to the grocers to replenish all the wilted/sour/rotten stuff in the fridge.

Gregalan
Gregalan

Good morning, I was just reading the sorry shape of American Idol this week. Ratings were down -43% for the Wednesday night finale and ratings are expected to go even lower for last night's show. American Idol says they will make changes to fix the shows ratings? Question? What kind of fix can they do it this point? Only have one judge and give away a moped scooter as a grand prize minus the record contract? I hear people say Idol still gets decent ratings? Decent to what? American Idol is paying for those ratings bye spending 35+ million a year for judges and Ryan Seacrest. No other show pays that much. Jay Leno was let go because he was making to much money and he was just 1 guy.  Anyone have any idea what is planned to try and save this show for 1 more year? I would not be surprised that we get news that because of this weeks worse then expected ratings Fox has decided to pull the plug on an obviously dead TV show!


RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

New blog entry thanking all of you!

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

Enjoyed being a part of some discussions this season. I have been reading your comments for past few seasons, finally got involved. My final opinions:

I enjoyed most of the show last night. Caleb was a deserving winner. He is obviously a better vocalist than Paul Stanley of KISS. His duet with Jena (It's Only Love) was my favorite song of the night.

Jena sounded great with Paramour and on "Just A Girl" at the beginning of the show. She commands the stage like a veteran!

Jess/Jennifer Nettles duet was fun. Alex was every bit as good as J.Mraz. Malaya looked great last night. She has a future. Sam paled in comparison to P. Phillips in voice and energy. Never liked him anyway.

The judges performance was fun, but Harry was somewhat disappointing. JLo was good, Randy played some great bass lines,Keith was smoking that guitar, glad they finally turned it up so we could hear it.

I hope the show is around for awhile, I still love it! I try but just don't like the Voice's format.  

See ya next season people!

MercedesS
MercedesS

And that's 600 comments on a "dying" show!!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Rodney has put up his annual thank you thread.  Why don't we all move our most recent posts over there.

Negativo
Negativo

Neg's finale take:


1.  I have never used the FFW button for an Idol finale as much as I did last night. Save Phillip's incredibly dynamic performance of Raging Fire (which reduced shy, meek little Sam to background dust), I was completely underwhelmed.

2. Whenever Jena sings I fall to the floor writhing in pain, blood trickling from my throbbing ears, as I lunge desperately for the remote. Isn't this banned by the Geneva Convention? Waterboarding would be less torture.

3. Everything else ranged from adequate to poor. 

4. Caleb winning means...nothing. By this time next year he'll be dropped by Interscope, and that will be that. If he's smart he'll just take his act to Vegas.

5. Jena...her only shot was at landing the win and catching lightning in a bottle with a hit single. Now, even if she gets signed, it'll be 2nd rate promo for a single that will never chart. She'll also be dropped, and will be crowdfunding some new project within two years.

6. Jess will take the Crystal Bowersox route, and have a successful under-the-radar career as a singer/songwriter/roadwarrior playing clubs across the country and releasing music every year with a small Indie label. 


BigAintheBigA
BigAintheBigA

Surprisingly entertaining albeit at times smaltzy 2 hours. Again, I enjoyed seeing the old kids back and even noticed Hayley and Casey in the crowd. John Legend's performance was the best of the night. I would've like to have heard another song or two from him, the others - just right. JLo's caricature of a Saturday morning kid's show pop diva actually had me giddily chortling like a sedated asylum inmate. Better than the last hill on the old six flags runaway mine train. Caleb and Jena proved again on national television that neither one of them can actually sing, which Ryan also marvelously proved for us for some strange reason, and the judge's gig was abysmally abhorrent. In the end it was a fairly well done send off to season 13, gigantic yellow balloons and all with a echo of Ricky Minor's involvement closing the performances whilst Caleb mostly neglected to sing his winner's song. Happy for everyone involved. Happy touring, children! Wish they'd given me a car.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

So I was pleased that Caleb won last night.  Nothing against GinaJeanaGenaJena, but she was a judges "wild card" and I never root for anyone that has been given the easy road by the judges.  While this season had its warts it was a vast improvement over last year.  Here's a Top 10 list of things I wish for moving forward:


1.  I wish for new judges.  I truly want a panel who won't use AI as a means to promote their music/dancing careers.  The focus should be on the contestants, not "celebrity" judges.

2.  I wish for new producers.  The constant shots of the judges "reaction" to the music had a similar effect on me like strobe lights inducing a grand maul seizure.

3.  I wish I had a tan like Richard Marx.

4.  I wish "Rainman" LisaJones34 would not continue to put her pedantic posts on this blog.

5.  I wish I could sing better than Ryan.  Unfortunately, I'm not even as good as him and he was rough.

6.  I wish I could bring a laugh to others on this blog like some of your posts brought me.

7.  I wish Randy Jackson could make a living doing something else other than AI.  He adds nothing to the show (so in other words, nothing has changed much).

8.  I wish I could play a guitar.  That way I could have that cool designation of being a WGWG.

9.  I wish I could turn back the hands of time about 10 years.  American Idol was once a "must see" for my spouse and I and our children.  Some are now in college and some in high school and AI doesn't hold their attention like it used to and our common interests have declined.  I miss that time family together.

10. For me, for you, I wish Rodney and all you posters and your families continued health, wealth and a satisfying spiritual journey.




Rickster_
Rickster_

I actually watched most of the show last night. "For me" - it was the worst Idol finale I can ever remember. 

MercedesS
MercedesS

Good Morning,


This was the least fun, most anti-climactic, American Idol finale ever. I'm not familiar with GenaJena's favorite group - Pomodore? Paramour? Pompadour? sorry, I'm too lazy and uninterested to look it up - and her performance with it was just more of same unintelligible staccato screams. Fastforwarded through Caleb's songs with GJ and his performance with KISS, a group I never understood the appeal of.


Enjoyed the few pearls cast before the non-appreciative panel  - esp JLo - in the form of Jessica/Jennifer Nettles duet, and Alex/M-guy (sorry,can't spell that either, but really like him) duet,  and Sam/PP duet.  How I would have enjoyed seeing Sam, Alex and Jess as the three last standing! Either of them would have been a worthy Idol winner, even Sam, whose confidence was growing, and his voice with it.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Back from St George Island just in time for finale (didn't see the Tues show). I guess I hit a trifecta - my fave ice skater (Meryl from our gold medal ice dancing team) won DWTS, the weather at SGI was total perfection, and Caleb (with all his warts) won Idol - yay for me!  Guess it was really a quatrofecta, because my fave horse, Calif. Chrome, has won the first 2 legs of the triple crown. Next up - my Sir Paul concert - just over 3 weeks away - my own bit piece of heaven!


Hope  all you guys, ie Mercedes, Deirdre, Woodpappy, JT, Jenny, Rickster (and forgive me for forgetting some of our regulars!) will still show up around here - we've proven we can keep it going with other tv shows, movies, books, et al.


Thanks Rodney for keep it all going and giving us bored at work/home regulars a place to have our little chats every day!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

 Morning!

Big smile on my face this morning.  I realized, skimming over the final posts from last night after I left(sorry but hubby had just gotten back from a 6 day trip) that it isn't the show that keeps us going, it's this place.

I have met(and said goodbye to, unfortunately) some of the greatest people on this blog.

I asked myself, would I still be watching this show if it weren't for the blog.  Maybe, maybe not. Probably not.  

Idol is my catalyst for being here in the first place and I still enjoy the show(in a kind of affectionate rather than entertaining way) but chatting here, the snark, the laugh-out-loud fun, the serious discussions of just about everything, the book club, the movie reviews, the troll-baiting( I admit I get a certain release from going after a troll)the little personal stories from each commenter, the friendships that have developed, the arguing(yes, I love to have vehement discussions and apologize to anyone whose feelings I have inadvertently hurt) have all combined to make this a really happy experience for me

Thanks to you all, those still plugging away here on the blog and those from years past who have moved on.

And especially thank you to Rodney.  Despite his flagging interest in the show, he recognizes this blog for what it is.  Our own little clubhouse.  He provides the space, puts up with all our idiosyncrasies, and generally lets us do whatever within the bounds of the blog demon(who is ruthless)  Love ya, Rodney!  Thank you!    


MoreorLess
MoreorLess

I have watched this show faithfully since season 2, except for last years season 12 disaster. I decided to give it another try this year. I watched the final and had to turn it off about half way through. I watched about the first 30 minutes of the results show and couldn't take it anymore so I switched to the Spurs/Thunder game.



AndiC
AndiC

Well I'm happy with the outcome. I don't care who will sell what post-Idol, it's become increasingly irrelevant each season in spite of the original intent of the show. For me it's become the fun of picking a couple of favorites out of whatever crop they've come up with that season and betting on how far they get, with little interest past the finale. It's a fun game.

Not as much fun as the blog though. That's what has made it the most enjoyable and I'm sorry I wound up being so scarce on it this year. Too many nights watching on DVR late at night so I had to miss out.

Rodney, thank you as always for keeping this blog going and giving a lot of us something to look forward to!

McCovey44
McCovey44

Well I said a very bad word a little while ago, but I figured that the confetti thrown around in here probably rivaled what happened on the stage tonight.  Congratulations to Caleb and I hope to buy a ticket to see Jena someday.

JTesla
JTesla

Jennifer Lopez showed more talent during the judges performance than I've ever seen from her. I didn't know she had it in her.

JTesla
JTesla

Wow, Richard Marx has a gigantic head. Like really big. I thought it was just the camera angle, but then he stepped right next to Ryan and his head is freakishly large.

LisaJones34
LisaJones34

My Grandmother just called me, I asked her what she was doing? Grandma said she was watching American Idol and that Jenifer Lopez is so pretty but that the shows talent was junk ... ( That from my grandmother ) ... Maybe next years show should just do live stream to retirement homes as that is the only people watching now? ... But I am not sure that will work as Grandma said the show lacks talent!


Sorry but I had to tell you what Grandma said :)~


Good night!

JTesla
JTesla

Less judges, more contestants.

Gregalan
Gregalan

Google top news for Entertainment =  

The Voice

Macklemore

Angelina Jolie

J.J. Abrams

Batman

Nicki Minaj

Led Zeppelin

Lea Michele

Pat Sajak

Any other questions on how far down American idol has fallen?

JTesla
JTesla

Thank you Rodney for sticking with it.


For the record: I predicted the winner. Failed to predict the rest of the top 3... I'll have to check my exact rankings tomorrow morning.

MercedesS
MercedesS

Thanks, Rodney, for providing us with outlet!

Jaszy
Jaszy

So two new WGWG's win: White Guys Without Guitars

Josh Kaufman and Caleb Johnson

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@RK_ last night ended the official TV season. that's why they moved things back one night.

BigAintheBigA
BigAintheBigA

@Negativo Honestly, I see Caleb more at Branson than I do Vegas. And I also see Jess's indomitable spirit forging something positive out of the experience moreso than others. Music is her life. Sam, I still think is going to wind up being a doctor. Dr. Sam.

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

@DoubleNaughtSpy   Well said Double Naught, well said.....

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@MercedesS


Your first paragraph was hilarious.  "Too lazy and uninterested to look it up"...  Classic.  That kind of describes my sentiments as well.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  We've got Falling Skies coming up Sam.  I may not be here as often but I will be here at least once or twice a day to check in...unless we get a really good discussion going.  Then, more often.

And welcome back!  Happy to hear you had a good time.

MoSch
MoSch

@DeirdreC  If it is arguing with a troll you should want then I will be happy to provide you with my wifes mothers phone number. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@LisaJones34  You know what I appreciate, Lisa...that you started talking to us instead of lecturing us.  Thank you.  Now all you have to do is drop the other personalities and I will be ok with listening to your issues about Idol.

ComaToes
ComaToes

@Gregalan  Sad, from A to Z, but why do they keep dragging the death of a barely-breathing entity out so long?

ComaToes
ComaToes

@Jaszy  Actually a WGWG(white girl with guitar) won big time. Just won't realize it until later.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@DoubleNaughtSpy @MercedesSThank you all for staying around! I made a vow to stick with "Idol" till the bitter end even though "The Voice" now doubles Idol in the ratings.