Share his thoughts. american idol winner Caleb Johnson didn’t mince his words as he contemplated the aftermath of his big win.
The North Carolina native, 31, said he was “really bummed” after winning season 13 of the reality competition, which aired in 2014. His main issue was with his winner’s single, which was “As Long as You Love Me” written by Justin Hawkins†
“I knew that, de facto, if you won, you had to sing the song, and the song was just utter bullshit,” Johnson said. Insider on Monday, July 4. “Like, it was just the worst song ever.”
The former Elijah Hooker frontman went on to say he opposed the “cheesy piece of shit,” but claimed the producers let him sing the song anyway. “I pitched it to the management company and all these things,” he said. “And they said, ‘Think of this as some sort of graduation present or something.'”
Johnson was even more incensed when he found out that another idol finalist recorded the same tune two years before his own win. In 2012, Idols South Africa second place, Mark Haze, including his version of “As Long as You Love Me” on his debut album. (Johnson’s version had slightly different lyrics.)
“How can someone else release the same song in another country?” the “Fighting Gravity” singer told Insider, adding that performing the song during his tour was a “nightmare.”
Johnson’s comments come months after Season 20’s frontrunner Kennedy Anderson abruptly quit the show, leaving some fans to wonder if she was clashing with producers behind the scenes.
“I can’t go on for personal reasons american idol† This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary,” she wrote via Instagram in an April statement. american idolthe judges, the producers, the amazing contestants and all the fans who have supported me.”
Days after her departure, the 18-year-old from Virginia teased a new song that appeared to refer to her time on the ABC series. “Here’s the chorus of a song I wrote not too long ago,” she said in a since-deleted TikTok video before singing, “I need to find something, find something better than what I had, and with no strings attached. Earn I don’t? Something without obligations.”
The performer has not given any further details on why she left the show, but last month she responded to a fan asking about her choice to leave Idol. “You are so sweet, thank you,” Anderson wrote in a TikTok comment. “But I had to do what was best for me.”