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Televised Talent: Your next American Idol

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: May 27, 2014 3:45 PM
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I had high hopes that American Idol would do the right thing, crown a winner with awesome vocal chops and a young fan base.

But the teenage franchise threw ITSELF under the bus Wednesday when Caleb Johnson was declared the winner.

Vote for the Worst couldn’t have planned this any better.

Johnson’s self-titled album is expected to be released in August. He’s planning to write his own music for it, something he will apparently have to do, because nobody else is writing the 20-, 30- and 40-year-old classic rock songs that are clearly in Caleb’s wheelhouse.

“As Long As You Love Me,” a rock tune written by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, will be the first single. I’ll admit it, the song didn’t annoy me nearly as much as most American Idol first singles. But then, I haven’t heard it 500,000 times yet.

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Wednesday’s show, in true American Idol tradition, treated us with return visits from runners-up and performances from artists far more talented than the final two.

The finalists got to sing with their musical idols, and that right there was a telling tale about each artist’s fan base. 

Jena “don’t call me Jenna” Irene sang with Paramore.


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Caleb sang with K.I.S.S. 

What? You mean they didn’t stop singing in the ’70s?


American Idol is 13 seasons old now, and its average viewer is 50. Those are the viewers who vote online, if at all.

And Caleb, a throwback who sings a song from 1987 that Randy Jackson calls “modern,” is right up their alley. I went to high school with a lot of Caleb fans.

My friend’s teenage daughter, a Jena fan, spent Tuesday night with a phone up to each ear voting for her.

It’s girls like her who are the ones who rush out to buy a new album, pre-order it on iTunes, and use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote the shizzle out of it.

I was wrong about the winner — I’ll admit it — and I hope I’m wrong about this next statement, too. I fear that Caleb will go the way of Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard. 

We’ll see you in the coffee shops once your 15 minutes is over, Caleb.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or 

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier
Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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factlady May 28, 2014 5:34 PM

Well, let see. Hicks was among the top ten Idol earners last year according to Forbes.  Around #5, I believe, if you account for ties. I bet Caleb would be very happy to go that route and find himself among the top earners.  Hicks hasn't recorded a whole lot, that is true, but as a live performer and musician, he can't be beat.

Idol is never going to recover their teenage fan base. I don't think the main fans of that show were ever teenagers anyway. So they might as well build an audience elsewhere. I know a lot of somewhat older people who buy a lot of music if they can find something worth buying. They buy for the music and not the personality. If you were going to mention someone whose route Caleb might not want to take, why not say Lee Dewyze or Candice Glover. Instead of someone whose debut album debuted with nearly 300,000? Could it be because no one ever forgets Taylor? None of the winners deserve to be put down or belittled. They are all talented people who did the best job on the show. Performing counts .

And Caleb is a good performer. Have a feeling he may not be forgotten all that easily.