In season 13, Caleb Johnson won American Idol. By being the champion of the singing competition, he spoke to Insider about the terrible experience. He went on how the song, As Long as You Love Me by The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins was “crap” and how he hated having to sing it when he defeated co-finalist Jena Irene Asciutto.
“I knew that, by de facto, if you won, you had to sing the song, and the song was just utter crap,” he said. “Like it was just the worst song ever.”
To avoid this, the American Idol winner Caleb Johnson went to the producers. They did not move on the decision, forcing him to sing the single. Instead, they said he had to look at it like a “graduation present.”
More Frustration during American Idol for Caleb Johnson
As Long as You Love Me was not the first time a finalist had been assigned the song to sing for their “graduation present.” Mark Haze, the finalist in South Africa in 2012, had recorded and released a version of the same song. During his time on American Idol, Caleb Johnson thought this made the idea worse for it being recycled.
“How is that even possible that somebody else releases the same song in another country?” he said.
Upon winning season 13 of American Idol, Caleb Johnson went on a tour with other finalists. He said it was enjoyable but called it a “giant karaoke tour.” At least he did not have to sing the dreaded single, although it was almost a part of the setlist.
“We did at the beginning, but they switched it. They switched it about halfway because it just wasn’t working,” he told Insider about the tour after his appearance on the reality TV competition series. “It was not working, and it was a nightmare.”
For winning, he signed onto the show’s record label, 19 Recordings. The label gave “absolutely no support behind the record.” He also did not get a music video or release a single out of the deal.