Caleb, who is from Asheville, North Carolina, became the lead singer of a band called Elijah Hooker in 2010. They released their self-titled debut album in 2013. He also had previously tried out for Idol before, having tried out for both season 10 and season 11.
Having tried out twice before (season 10 and season 11), Caleb gave the show another go when he auditioned in Atlanta singing an original song he wrote called "Into the Void". He made it to Hollywood where he did well, even singing with CJ Harris in the group round. He made the top 30 where he sang "Stay with Me" by the Faces, which had previously been covered by Skylar Laine during season 11. The public loved it and voted Caleb through to the top 13 where he sang "Pressure and Time" by Rival Sons for "This Is Me" week. He made it to the top 12 as a result of his performance, which earned him praise.
For "Home" week, Caleb took on "Working Man" by one of his favorite bands, Rush. He earned praise for his performance and made it to the next week.
For "Songs from The Movies" week, Caleb sang "Skyfall" by Adele from the 2012 James Bond movie of the same name. While his choice of song did worry some of his fans at first, his performance of it wowed the judges, who gave him praise, and the public, who voted him through to the next week, resulting in him making the American Idols Live tour.
For "Billboard Top 10" week, Caleb sang "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga, which baffled some fans because of it being a big-time pop song. Caleb, who rearranged it to suit his vocal style, received praise from the judges for taking a risk with the song, and he made it to the next week.
For "I'm with the Band" week, Caleb took on the Jake Holmes song "Dazed and Confused", which wowed the judges and the public. He made it through to the next week.For "Back to the Start" week, instead of singing his original song "Into The Void", which is the song viewers saw Caleb sing in his audition when it aired, he sang his other audition song, "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin. He changed it up to suit his style and got a positive reaction from the judges, who all loved it even though Harry Connick, Jr. did suggest to Caleb that he sing a song that showcased his softer side. He then teamed with Jessica Meuse on the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty classic "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around".
For "Songs from the 80s Week", Caleb gave it his all on the Journey classic "Faithfully", which did showcase his softer side, despite being sick. He recevied praise from the judges and later teamed up with Jena Irene on the Bryan Adams/Tina Turner duet "It's Only Love", delighting fans who had been begging for a Caleb/Jena duet for a while. His rendition of "Faithfully" peaked at number 9 on the iTunes Rock chart.
For "Competitior's Choice" week, Caleb's roommate, Alex Preston, chose "Family Tree" by Kings of Leon for him to sing. The performance earned him praise from the judges, who all told him that they loved it. Later on, he and Jena teamed up for their rendition of the Rolling Stones' classic "Gimme Shelter", which caused fans to go into a frenzy on social media.
|Episode||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order||Result|
|Audition||Auditioner's Choice||"Into the Void" (original composition)||Caleb Johnson||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Round||A Capella||"Sympathy for the Devil"||The Rolling Stones||N/A|
|Group Performance|| "Too Close"
with Tyler Ahlgren, Matthew Hamel, and CJ Harris
|Top 31 (10 Men)||Personal Choice||"Stay with Me"||Faces||1|
|Top 13||This Is Me||"Pressure and Time"||Rival Sons||13||Safe|
|Top 12||Home||"Working Man"||Rush||6|
|Top 11||Songs from the Cinema||"Skyfall"||Adele||7|
|Top 10||Billboard Top 10||"The Edge of Glory"||Lady Gaga||6|
|Top 9||I'm with the Band!||"Dazed and Confused"||Jake Holmes||6|
|Top 8||Back to the Start||Duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" |
with Jessica Meuse
|Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty||5|
|Solo "Chain of Fools"||Aretha Franklin||11|
|Top 8||Songs from the 1980s||Solo "Faithfully"||Journey||12|
|Duet "It's Only Love" |
with Jena Irene
|Bryan Adams & Tina Turner||5|
|Top 7||Competitors' Choice||Duet "Gimme Shelter" |
with Jena Irene
|The Rolling Stones||6|
|Solo "Family Tree"||Kings of Leon||1|
|Top 6||Rock 'n' Roll||"Sting Me"||The Black Crowes||5|
|Country||"Undo It"||Carrie Underwood||8|
|Top 5||America's Requests||Solo "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"||Aerosmith||2|
|Duet "Beast of Burden" |
with Jessica Meuse
|The Rolling Stones||7|
|Solo "Still of the Night"||Whitesnake||12|
|Top 4||Love Songs||"You Give Love a Bad Name"||Bon Jovi||1|
|"Travelin' Band"||Creedence Clearwater Revival||5|
|"Maybe I'm Amazed"||Paul McCartney||9|
|Top 3||Randy Jackson's Choice||"Never Tear Us Apart"||INXS||1|
|Judges' Choice||"Demons"||Imagine Dragons||4|
|Hometown's Choice||"Dazed and Confused"||Jake Holmes||7|
|Finale||Simon Fuller's Choice||"Dream On"||Aerosmith||2||Winner|
|Reprisal Song||"Maybe I'm Amazed"||Paul McCartney||4|
|Winner's Single||"As Long as You Love Me"||Caleb Johnson||6|
- Caleb is the third contestant from North Carolina to win the show, the first being season 3's Fantasia Barrino and season 10's Scotty McCreery.
Caleb was a part of the 2014 American Idols tour, which kicked off in Binghamton, New York on June 24, 2014. His debut album, Testify, was released on August 12, 2014. He got to sing the National Anthem at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. on May 25, 2014. He was even runner-up Jena Irene's date to her senior prom, which they attended on May 28, 2014 in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He debuted a new song, "No Fighting Gravity", during a concert in Uniondale, New York on July 11, 2014.
After parting ways with Interscope in 2015, Caleb began working on his first EP independently, which he hopes to release sometime in 2016. The first single off of it is called "Holding On". It was released on February 9, 2016. He also launched a fundraising campaign via Pledge Music on February 18, 2016.
Feud with David CookEdit
During an August 14, 2014 interview with Yahoo! Music's Lyndsey Parker, Caleb sparked an outrage when he called himself the first "real rocker" to win Idol and dismissed season 7 winner David Cook, claiming that Cook never sang songs by artists such as Led Zepplin during his time on the show. The comments angered many of Cook's fans, who made it clear that Cook did sing music by artists such as Chris Cornell and Our Lady Peace and even rearranged several songs, most notably "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey, to suit his musical style, which is hard rock and alternative rock. Even season 4 runner-up Bo Bice tweeted his support for Cook, calling him a "rockin' spirit brother". Cook himself responded to Caleb's comments by playing a bit of the BIll WIthers song "Use Me" before singing a mash-up of "Rock 'N Roll/Whole Lotta Love" at his August 16, 2014 concert in Kokomo, Indiana. Many criticized Caleb for starting the feud with Cook in order to sell records.
with Elijah Hooker:
- Elijah Hooker (2013)
- TBA (2016)
- Testify (2014)
- "As Long As You Love Me" (2014)
- "Holding On" (2016)
|Caleb Johnson ·Jena Irene ·Alex Preston ·Jessica Meuse ·Sam Woolf ·CJ Harris ·Dexter Roberts ·Malaya Watson ·Majesty Rose ·MK Nobilette ·Ben Briley ·Emily Piriz ·Kristen O'Connor|