‘American Idol’ Winner Says Debut Single From the Show Is ‘Utter Crap’

American Idol

ABC/Eric McCandless "American Idol"

“American Idol” season 13 winner Caleb Johnson is opening up about his time after the show, including why he hates performing his debut single.

Johnson spoke with Insider about his time on “American Idol” and why he was actually “really bummed” that he won his season.

The debut single was written by Justin Hawkins and it is titled “As Long as You Love Me.”


Johnson Did Not Like the Song at All

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

He also called it a “cheesy piece of crap” and that he did try to tell the producers that he did not want to call it his own, though that did not work out for him.

“I pitched a fit about it to the management company and all this stuff,” he told the outlet. “And they were like, look at this as kind of a graduation present or something.”

The singer shared that the song was previously released in another country, which is another reason he did not enjoy performing it, which he had to do a lot on the “American Idol” summer tour.

“We did at the beginning, but they switched it,” he said. “They switched it about halfway because it just wasn’t working. It was not working, and it was a nightmare.”

Johnson’s most recent album, Mountain Mojo Volume 1, was released on June 18, 2021.


Other Finalists Also Blasted the Show

In an interview with Insider in celebration of the show’s 20th anniversary, season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis said that he knew he wasn’t going to win the show going into the finale.

Going into the finale, Lewis says that he knew he was “screwed” based on the final song, as he thought it had been “written for Jordin Sparks,” who went on to win the show.

He also said that ahead of the finale, producers told him, “You can’t arrange it this time,” according to Insider.

The singer said that being told he wasn’t allowed to arrange the music was extremely upsetting for him.

“I gave them all the fingers,” he shared. “I said, ‘F*** you all,’ and I walked out of the room. It immediately turned the whole entire experience sour.”

He shared that he did think that Sparks was deserving of the title of “American Idol,” but that didn’t make the finale week any less “agony” for him.

“This should be like the dopest week of my life, but I know I’m getting second place,” he shared with the outlet. “I had the greatest time of my life and then it became bitter.”

Even the songwriter, Jeff Peabody and his cowriter Scott Krippayne, thought the song was awkward for Lewis to sing, Insider reports.

“It made it a little awkward for us to feel like the song was so clearly a better fit for her,” Peabody told the outlet, adding that he and his cowriter apologized to Lewis at the finale.

“American Idol” is expected to return in the spring of 2023 for season 21 of the show. Each of the three judges and host Ryan Seacrest are expected to return.

READ NEXT: ‘American Idol’ Runner-Up Frustrated Following Show

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