‘American Idol’ Champ Caleb Johnson Was ‘Really Bummed’ About Winning

Jill O'Rourke
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Caleb Johnson performing at 'American Idol Live!'Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

American Idol Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson recently got honest about how it felt to win the show in 2014. It might surprise fans to know that he was actually “really bummed” about it, mostly because he hated his winner’s single.


Caleb Johnson Reflects on American Idol Win

In an interview with Insider, Johnson talks about hating his winner’s single, “As Long as You Love Me.” Not to be confused with the song of the same name by Backstreet Boys, Johnson’s song was written by Justin Hawkins of the Darkness.

“I knew that, by de facto, if you won you had to sing the song, and the song was just utter crap,” Johnson said of his winning moment. “Like it was just the worst song ever.”

Johnson called the song a “cheesy piece of crap,” and he tried to get out of singing it, but the producers insisted. The singer also didn’t like the fact that the song had previously been released in 2012 by Idols South Africa runner-up Mark Haze.


He then had to perform the song on the Idol summer tour. Halfway through Johnson switched his winner’s single for another song. As Johnson explained, “It was not working, and it was a nightmare.”

SEE ALSO: ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ WINNER CALEB JOHNSON LOOKS FOR NEW SUCCESS WITH MEAT LOAF TOUR

Johnson Says He Got ‘No Support’ After Winning

Johnson also complained about how Idol‘s record label, 19 Recordings, handled his debut album, Testify. The singer said that the label “put absolutely no support behind the record.”


“The label wouldn’t release the single, there was no single that came out after the record was done,” Johnson told Insider. “There was no music video. There was nothing.”

Johnson ended up parting ways with the label in 2015. In 2019, he released an album called Born from Southern Ground under the name Caleb Johnson & The Ramblin Saints.

Despite his recent negative comments, Johnson had more positive things to say about American Idol on Instagram earlier this year. He posted photos from his time on the show in honor of the Season 20 finale, writing, “Had an absolute blast! A lot of great memories!!”

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