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MAY
20
2 MOS

'American Idol' Season 13 Finale: 'We Really Don't Care Who Wins,' Says Caleb Johnson

Fellow finalist Jena Irene agrees: "No matter what place we get…I want to go out on a good note."

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Michael Becker / Fox

"We really don't care who wins," Caleb Johnson told a small cadre of press outside Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre in the Monday afternoon sunshine. " 'American Idol' is just a title. We want to give the best possible performances both nights and make it a memorable season. We've all won. Not just us, but everybody who's been on the show this season, with the experiences we've had and the knowledge we've gained about the industry and the friends that we've made."

Johnson's rival for the championship, 17-year-old Jena Irene, agreed. "No matter what place we get, whether it's first or second, I want to go out on a good note," she said. "I don't want to have a bad performance or have something I wish I would have done differently." That's why Tuesday's performance show is going to be more nerve-racking than appearing with major guest stars like Paramore on Wednesday night's season finale, the teenager explained.

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Asked to recall their auditions, Irene offered, "I was so scared. Walking in to a room full of cameras that you don't see on TV and three celebrity judges who are extremely successful, I didn't know what to do. From that point, I blacked out. I don't remember how the conversation went, but I'm glad I got through, because my confidence level has definitely been boosted."

Johnson also recalled his auditions -- all three of them. He made it to Hollywood Week during seasons 10 and 11 before trying out for season 13. "The first time I did it just to see what it was about, and I literally fell in love with the whole experience. It was so intense and extreme. The second time I got cut, I went back home and wanted to write with my band and play shows, and we did some mini-tours, but it was so hard to get anything jump-started. It was like you were hitting the wall. You're playing to 10 or 15 people, and I wanted more. I wanted to give it one more shot."

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The top two finalists also talked about their debut singles, which they will perform tonight. "We were given songs by the label, which was good because during this whole process they have gotten to know what kind of artists we are and what kind of songs we would like to sing post-American Idol," says Irene. "They fit us pretty well, so I'm really happy, and it's really cool that they were released a week early so people could be familiar with the songs."

"We recorded the songs the previous week," Johnson revealed. "My voice went out, so I recorded that song with my voice blown out. So it was really a stressful week, but we got it done." Johnson was asked if his voice had healed for the final two nights. "It's not back 100 percent," he said. "It's slowly getting better. I think it will be there [tonight]. If not, the doctor has some great drugs."

Twitter: @Idol_Worship