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'American Idol' Season 13 Recap: Caleb Johnson Wins Over Jena Irene In Star-Packed Finale

by Carolyn Menyes   May 21, 2014 22:06 PM EDT

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And the winner of American Idol season 13 is... Caleb Johnson!

American Idol season 13 ended much like the way it began... in those suffocation tryout boxes. This time, Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene held hands, reflecting on their journey in a totally staged but not staged moment.

The two finalist then burst onto stage and proved there was a reason why they made it to the top as 11 other singers went home week after week. Performing "We Will Rock You" (Caleb), "Just A Girl" (Jena) and "It's Only Love" (together), Caleb and Jena were truly Idol-worthy, giving arena-worthy performances from both a vocal and energetic standpoint.

It was pretty clear that Caleb and Jena were this season's frontrunners about halfway through the live shows, and their dominance over their competition just showed while some of the finalists performed later in the program.

Immediately after the Caleb/Jena extravaganza, Sam Woolf performed a half-done cover of Phillip Phillips' season 11 coronation song "Home" with the stage presence of, well, Sam Woolf. Phillips himself joined him onstage to show him how a professional does it, with a strong and stunning rendition of his new single "Raging Fire."

Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland and solo fame) then followed performing her new single, "That Girl." Jessica Meuse then joined her, with more fervor and personality than ever before, for a cover of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." Why did this happen? I don't know... but it worked out more than it flopped, with the two chanteuses trading off vocal duties seamlessly... where was this Jessica weeks ago? Not on the Idol stage, that's for sure.

It was then time for the old pro to take things over, with judge Jennifer Lopez singing her new song "First Love" alongside a dance remix, giving an electrifying performance and showing that she has a reason to tell other performers how it's done.

Caleb Johnson then joined forces with Kiss to give his little brother Houston the time of his life. Though he himself didn't wear face makeup (a true shame), Caleb Johnson held his own as a true cock rock god, trading off vocal duties with the legendary band and properly holding his own.

The eliminated contestants got more time to shine, as the top boys joined Aloe Blacc for a bombastic take on "The Man." For the girls, it was a Demi Lovato mashup of "Really Don't Care" and "Neon Lights."

The eliminated contestants got more time to shine, as the top boys joined Aloe Blacc for a bombastic take on “The Man.” For the girls, it was a Demi Lovato mashup of “Really Don’t Care” and “Neon Lights.”

More cut Idol contestants performed, as Malaya Watson traded off singing duties with John Legend for “You & I” and “All Of Me” and Alex Preston joined Jason Mraz for his new single “Love Somebody.” Dexter Roberts and CJ Harris then performed with Darius Rucker to perform a medley of hits… it was OK.

Lady Antebellum and the judges also performed, and Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban did a stellar rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” showing off each of their talents in a truly valuable way.

And then… it was time for the big moment… the winner of American Idol season 13. With build up that could have been much grander, it was deemed that Caleb Johnson would take the crown. Ever the rocker rebel, he eschewed the first part of his coronation song “As Long As You Love Me” in return for hugging his former competitiors and saying hello to his family. It was genuine, and rock and all Caleb Johnson. Idol cannot control him, but it can deem his future.

His debut album will drop Aug. 12, according to Ryan Seacrest…

So, that’s it. It’s been real recapping American Idol with you this season here on Music Times. Good night, America!

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