‘American Idol’ Champion Recalls Being ‘Really Bummed’ About Winning

by Emily Morgan

Caleb Johnson isn’t thrilled that he was the winner of Season 13 of “American Idol.” On the contrary, eight years after he won, the singer says he was “really bummed” that he won the popular singing competition.

At the time, the rising star ousted Jena Irena and Alex Preston to take home the top prize in May of 2014. However, in an interview with Insider, he recently admitted that he “hated” his winner’s single, “As Long As You Love Me,” written by Justin Hawkins.

According to Johnson, the song was a “cheesy piece of crap.” In addition, he pulled it from the setlist during his post-Idol winner’s tour because he couldn’t stand the number.

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

As he describes, he even tried to argue with the producers to sing something else, but he had no luck.

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

His frustration grew when he learned that the song was given to the show’s South Africa runner-up Mark Haze in 2012, which he released on his debut album.

Caleb Johnson frustration with ‘American Idol’ label

“How is that even possible that somebody else releases the same song in another country?’ Johnson asked. Johnson went on tour with the other finalists, with the song initially part of the setlist. However, it didn’t last.

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

At the same time, Johnson was trying to record his debut album. However, as he recalls, it was frustrating because “Idol’s” label, 19 Recordings, didn’t support Johnson.

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

Although Johnson hated the song, his fans had a more positive outlook. For instance, a fan named Jeff Holmes tweeted Johnson: “‘As Long As You Love Me’ gives me chills every time I hear it. Crap? I think not. You’re countryish album? Yes.”

The “American Idol” winner responded, writing, “There are some great songs on the first album! Unfortunately in my opinion ‘As Long As You Love Me’ isn’t one of them and is not a representation of the artist that I am.’

“I did not write that song so I have no emotional attachment to it whatsoever and it was previously released by an artist in another country!” Johnson continued.

“That being said the Countryish albums that your referring to or as I like to call them southern rock are the truest and purest representation of my voice and artistry. But to each their own! Cheers,” he concluded.