May 22, 2014


'American Idol' Crowns First Hard Rock Winner

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Rock fans, rejoice: American Idol Season 13 has a winner and it's hard rocker Caleb Johnson. After auditioning for the singing competition three times but never making it past the Top 42, the 23-year-old Tennessee native claimed victory over 17-year-old Jena Irene.

Before the announcement, Johnson nailed a performance with KISS. For longtime Idol fans, you'll remember that Adam Lambert duetted with the pioneering hard rock act on Season 8's finale. Foreshadowing a successful post-show career, perhaps?

Upon the reveal, confetti flooded the stage as Johnson performed his coronation song "As Long As You Love Me"—a track originally pitched to fellow Idol champ Kelly Clarkson, according to reports. Listen to the rock joint below.

There was no shortage of star power for the finale that brought out ParamoreJason MrazDemi LovatoJohn LegendPhillip PhillipsLady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles.

Perhaps even more surprising was that for the first time ever in American Idol history, the judges came together for a live performance. Jennifer LopezKeith Urban, Randy Jackson and Harry Connick Jr. came together for a medley of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" and Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." J.Lo's vocals here might be the most tender we've ever heard from her. Watch below.