Like many American Idol alums before him, season 13 winner Caleb Johnson hated his coronation single. Like, he REALLY REALLY HATED IT.
The 2014 champ told Insider in another of their seemingly endless articles culled from what was probably a few days spent interviewing–that he was “really bummed” because coming in first meant he had to sing his winner’s single, “As Long as You Love Me” written by The Darkness member, Justin Hawkins.
“The song was just… a cheesy piece of crap”
“I knew that, by de facto, if you won you had to sing the song, and the song was just utter crap,” Johnson said. “Like it was just the worst song ever.”
Feeling like he got saddled with a “cheesy piece of crap,” Johnson said he tried to fight the producers on it before finale night. But they wouldn’t budge.
“I pitched a fit about it to the management company and all this stuff,” he told Insider. “And they were like, look at this as kind of a graduation present or something.”
Caleb became even angrier when he learned that the ong was already performed by another Idol finalist. Mark Haze, Idols South Africa 2012 runner-up recorded and released a version of the song for his debut album. Two years later, Caleb was handed the same song with slightly different lyrics.
“How is that even possible that somebody else releases the same song in another country?” Caleb said.
Forced to sing it on the summer American Idol Live tour, Caleb called it a “nightmare.” The song was eventually dropped from his set because “it was not working.”
While touring, Caleb also recorded his debut album. But UMG/19 Recordings “put absolutely no support behind the record.”
“The label wouldn’t release the single, there was no single that came out after the record was done. There was no music video. There was nothing,” he said.
Maddie Poppe is pretty sure she still owes the record label money
In another Insider piece, American Idol winners and runners-up cleared up a few fan misconceptions:
On being “set for life” after winning American Idol, Season 16 champ Maddie Poppe said: “You do get $250,000, but not really because of taxes,” Poppe told Insider. “And you get half of it before you complete your record, and then the second half you get after you complete the record. So it’s just like an advance from the record deal, but I’m pretty sure I have to recoup it.”
Season 7 winner, David Cook revealed that contestants had to pay for flights back and forth during the audition rounds, which include several stages that don’t necessarily take place at the same time. “Once you get to Hollywood Week, they put you up in cover flights and all that, but yeah, for the city auditions segment, you’re on your own pocket,” David said.
Crystal Bowersox, who finished second on season 9, found a way to play gigs while also filming the show. “Telling me that I couldn’t perform?” she said. “That was my sole source of income.” To get around the rules, she performed under an alias without getting disqualified from the series.