North Carolina rocker Caleb Johnson emerged as the winner of Season 13 of Fox's "American Idol," edging out emerging pop singer Jena Irene in the finale Wednesday night.
Johnson, 23, was crowned the champion in the two-hour show that included celebrity performances by John Legend, KISS, Demi Lovato and Lady Antebellum, along with a song by Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., according to The Associated Press
Over the years, "American Idol" has launched the careers of Grammy Award-winners Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood. Hudson also won a best supporting actress Academy Award for the musical "Dreamgirls."
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"I can't even – I can't even talk right now," Johnson said after he learned that he won, according to the Washington Post
. "This is crazy…Thank you so much."
Johnson took to Twitter Thursday to express his thanks to fellow contestants and fans.
"This is a guy that has worked so hard and wanted it so badly, and that's all paid off tonight," "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said about Johnson.
For the runner-up, whose full name is Jena Irene Asciutto, 17, the high schooler got a prom date out of the deal in Johnson, noted The Hollywood Reporter.
Asciutto was the wildcard pick out of Farmington Hills, Michigan and managed to reach finals.
"To come this far and to be so young, I am grateful," Asciutto said, noted The Hollywood Reporter. "I knew (Caleb) was going to win because he deserves it. It is a bittersweet moment just because this show was amazing tonight. I got to perform with my idols and do a duet with Caleb, which was awesome. So the fact that it all just happened and it's over now, right now I'm relieved but I can tell you right now that tomorrow I am going to miss it."
Asciutto confirmed that Johnson will attend the prom with her on May 28.
"Caleb is actually coming with me so I am bringing the American Idol as my date," she said.
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