'American Idol' Runner-Up Jena Irene: Caleb Johnson Is My Prom Date
"It's over, thank God," said the relieved 17-year-old moments after the season 13 finale.
“It’s over, thank God,” said Jena Irene to a roomful of reporters moments after Caleb Johnson was declared the winner of American Idol season 13.
Irene, the 17-year-old wild card pick from Farmington Hills, Mich., was in good spirits despite being edged out for the Idol crown. “To come this far and to be so young, I am grateful,” she said, adding that she wasn't surprised by the outcome. "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.”
Irene said she learned plenty during her time on American Idol. "American Idol doesn’t just teach you how to be a good singer, it teaches you how to be a good performer and be good with press and to dress well and to know how to speak. It makes you a well-rounded person.”
And for a young performer like Irene, one of the perks was the opportunity to share the stage with her favorite band, Paramore. “Paramore is amazing and the balls that dropped, or the balloons, was so fun,” she said. “It was a dream come true. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would share the stage with Hayley [Williams] and she is so nice. I mean all three of them are just so down to earth so it was a dream come true.”
Did she get any advice from lead singer Williams? Irene said not yet. “She was on a time crunch and I only rehearsed with her this morning,” she said. “But she does follow me on Twitter so I will ask.”
Irene’s dance card is filling up as well. Besides beginning rehearsals for the American Idol summer tour on June 11, there is the little matter of her prom on May 28. But she said she already has the important part covered -- Johnson will be on her arm.
“Caleb is actually coming with me so I am bringing the American Idol as my date,” she said. Will the Idols jam with the band? Irene doesn’t think that is possible. “I think it’s a DJ these days,” she laughed.