Jena, who is from the Detriot suburb of Farmington Hills, was a senior in high school where she had competed in its annual "Coffee House" talent show. She was previously the lead singer of a rock band called Infinity Hour. She had even worked as a waitress at a local restaurant called Hercules.
Jena was able to finish high school during her time on the show and graduated with her class on June 8, 2014.
Jena tried out for the show in Detriot where she impressed the judges with her rendition of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep". She made it to Hollywood where she did well and made the top 30. However, her take on the Rolling Stones' classic "Paint It, Black" wasn't very impressive. Jena's decision to sing her original song, "Unbreakable Me", helped her make it to the top 13 as a wildcard.
Top 13EditFor "This Is Me" week, Jena chose "The Scientist" by one of her favorite bands, Coldplay. Her rendition of it earned her praise from the judges and resulted in her getting voted through to the next week.
For "Home" week, Jena sang "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall, dedicating it to her family. However, she ended up in the bottom 3 but was declared safe.
For "Songs from the Movies" week, Jena bounced back, singing "Decode" by Paramore from the movie Twilight, which she had previously covered on YouTube. The performance earned her praise from the judges and helped her earn her place on the American Idols Live tour.
For "Billboard Top 10" week, Jena sang "Clarity" by Zedd featuring Foxes. The performance, which featured the audience holding glowsticks, got her postive reviews from the judges. She made it to the next week.
For "I'm With the Band" week, Jena sang "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence, which had been previously been covered by Angie Miller of season 12. She earned praise for the performance from the judges, who loved both her vocals and the way she interacted with the band.
For "Back to the Start" week, Jena sang her audition song, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, which she completely rearranged to make it different then the version she sang at her audition. Her performance of it earned her well deserved praise from the judges, who loved her vocals on it and how she took a risk with her arrangement of the song. She then teamed up with Alex Preston on the Pink/Nate Ruess hit "Just Give Me a Reason". Her rendition of "Rolling in the Deep" peaked at number 27 on the iTunes Alternative chart.
For "Songs from the 80s" week, Jena put her own spin on "I Love Rock 'n Roll" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, but it got her mixed reviews from the judges. She then teamed up with Caleb Johnson on the Bryan Adams/Tina Turner classic "It's Only Love", which dazzled fans who had been wanting the two to sing a duet together for a while.
For "Competitor's Choice" week, Caleb picked "Creep" by Radiohead for Jena. She wowed not only the judges but also the public, who raved about it on Twitter. She and Caleb then teamed up for their take on the Rolling Stones' classic "Gimme Shelter", which also had Idol fans raving on Twitter and social media. Her version of "Creep" peaked at number 5 on the iTunes Alternative chart.
For "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock 'N Roll" week, Jena sang "Barracuda" by Heart for her rock performance and "So Small" by Carrie Underwood for her country performance. While "Barracuda" earned Jena praise, her rendition of "So Small" got her a bit of a mixed response. Still, she made it tot he next week.
For "America's Request" week, Jena took on two songs: "Your Body" by Young the Giant and "Valerie" by The Zutons. Like last week, one performance, "Your Body", earned her praise while her second performance got her a mixed reaction. She then teamed up with Alex Preston and Sam Woolf on the song "Best Day of Your Life" by American Authors.
For "Love: Make-Ups and Break-Ups" week, Jena took on three songs: "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar, "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga, and "Can't Help Falling in Love" by the great Elvis Presley. All three performances, especially "Heartbreaker" and "Can't Help Falling in Love", got Jena raves from fans on Twitter while the judges enjoyed all three performances. Her "Can"t Help Falling in Love" performance, which earned her a kiss and a hug from Jennifer Lopez, has since gotten over 570,000 views on YouTube.
For Top 3 week, Jena sang "Titanium" by David Gutta and Sia, chosen for her by Randy Jackson, "Heart Attack" by Demi Lovato, chosen for her by the judges, and her reprisal of "Creep" by Radiohead. While "Creep" was praised, her other two performances did earn her a bit of a mixed response from the judges. Still, she made it to the finale where she went up against Caleb Johnson.
For the finale, Jena took on three songs: "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + The Machine, a repeat performance of "Can't Help Falling in Love", and her debut single, "We Are One". She received a good response to all three performances with "Can't Help Falling in Love" getting the greater repsonse.
Jena finished second to Caleb Johnson on May 21, 2014.
|Episode||Theme||Song Choice||Original Artist||Result|
|Audition||Choice||"Rolling in the Deep"||Adele||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 1||A Capella||"Video Games"||Lana Del Ray||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 2||Group||"Too Close"||Alex Clare||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 3||Choice||"Unbreakable Me"||Jena Irene||Advanced|
|Top 10 Girls||Choice||"Paint It, Black"||Rolling Stones||Advanced|
|Wild Card||Choice||"Unbreakable Me"||Jena Irene||Advanced|
|Top 13||This is Me||"The Scientist"||Coldplay||Safe|
|Top 12||Home||"Suddenly I See"||KT Tunstall||Bottom 3|
|Top 11||Songs from the Cinema||"Decode"||Paramore||Safe|
|Top 10||Billboard Top 10 Charts||"Clarity"||Zedd ft. Foxes||Safe|
|Top 9||(I'm With the) Band!||"Bring Me to Life"||Evanescence feat. Paul McCoy||Safe|
|Top 8||Back to the Start||"Rolling in the Deep"||Adele||Safe|
|Top 8 (Redux)||Songs from the 1980s||"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"||Arrows||Safe|
|Top 7||Competitors' Choice||"Creep"||Radiohead||Safe|
|Top 6||Rock 'n' Roll||"Barracuda"||Heart||Safe|
|Country||"So Small"||Carrie Underwood||Safe|
|Top 5||America's Requests||"My Body"||Young the Giant||Safe|
|Top 4||Love Songs||"Heartbreaker"||Pat Benatar||Safe|
|"Bad Romance"||Lady Gaga||Safe|
|"Can't Help Falling in Love"||Elvis Presley||Safe|
|Top 3||Randy Jackson's Choice||"Titanium"||David Guetta feat. Sia||Safe|
|Judges' Choice||"Heart Attack"||Demi Lovato||Safe|
|Finale||Simon Fuller's Choice||"Dog Days Are Over"||Florence + the Machine||Safe|
|Reprisal Song||"Can't Help Falling in Love"||Elvis Presley||Safe|
|Winner's Single||"We Are One"||Jena Irene||Runner-Up|
Jena was a part of the American Idols Live tour, which kicked off in Binghamton, New York on June 24, 2014. Her debut single, "We Are One", co-written by former season 8 semi-finalist Felicia Barton, was released on May 21, 2014. She also performed with the band Paramore at the Idol finale. She has been focused on her music since the tour ended and has been performing as well as keeping her fans up-to-date via Twitter and Instagram. She recently performed at the Arts, Beats, and Eats festival in Royal Oak, Michigan on August 29, 2014 as well as the Rockwood Music Hall in New York on October 15, 2014.
Jena released her version of "Can't Help Falling in Love" on December 19, 2014.
On April 19, 2015, Jena announced that she has signed a deal with a Detroit-based label called Original 1265 Recordings. Her debut EP, Innocence, was released on April 22, 2016. She has also released two new singles, "Floating Down the River" on February 17, 2017, and "So I Get High" on April 28, 2017. Her debut album, Cold Fame, was released on June 2, 2017.
- Jena's celebrity crush is Harry Styles of One Direction.
- Jena is only the second wildcard contestant to make it to the finale. The last one to acheive that feat was season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken.
- Jena went to her senior prom with winner Caleb Johnson on May 28, 2014.
- Jena's fans are called "Doods".
- Cold Fame (2017)
- Innocence (2016)
- "We Are One" (2014)
- "Can't Help Falling in Love" (2014)
- "Floating Down the River" (2017)
- "So I Get High" (2017)
|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|