The winner of the 13th season of “American Idol” Caleb Johnson is “really upset” with his victory and criticizes the debut single

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Caleb Johnson. Courtesy of Caleb Johnson/Instagram

He shares his thoughts. American Idol winner Caleb Johnson was not shy in his expressions, reflecting on the consequences of his big victory.

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The 31-year-old North Carolina native said he was “really upset” after winning season 13 of the reality show, which aired in 2014. His main problem was with his winning single, which was “As Long As You Love Me”, written by Justin. Hawkins.

“I knew that de facto, if you won, you would have to sing this song, and the song was complete shit,” Johnson told Insider on Monday, July 4. “Like, it was just the worst song ever.”

Former frontman Elijah Hooker said he resisted the “shitty piece of shit,” but claimed the producers made him sing the track anyway. “I threw a tantrum about it to the management company and all that stuff,” he said. “And they said: “Look at it as a graduation present or something.”

Johnson was even angrier after discovering that another Idol finalist had recorded the same tune two years before his own victory. In 2012, Mark Hayes, runner-up in Idols South Africa, included his version of “As Long as You Love Me” on his debut album. (Johnson’s version had a slightly different text.)

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“How is it even possible that someone else is releasing the same song in another country?” the singer told Fighting Gravity Insider, adding that performing the track during his tour was a “nightmare.”

Johnson’s comments came months after season 20 leader Kenedy Anderson abruptly left the show, leading some fans to wonder if she had run into producers backstage.

“For personal reasons, I cannot continue participating in American Idol. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s necessary,” she wrote on Instagram in an April statement. “I am so grateful to American Idol, the judges, the producers, the wonderful participants and all the fans who supported me.”

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A few days after her departure, the 18-year-old Virginia native teased a new song that seemed to reference her time on the ABC series. “Here’s the chorus of a song I wrote not so long ago,” she said in a recently deleted TikTok video before singing, “I need to find, need to find something better than what I had, and without any conditions. Don’t I deserve it? Something without any conditions.”

The singer did not provide any details about why she left the show, but last month she responded to a fan who asked about her decision to leave Idol. “You’re so cute, thank you,” Anderson wrote in a TikTok comment. “But I had to do what was best for me.”