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'American Idol' Winner Caleb Johnson: 'I Want to Write a Zombie Rock Opera'

"I want to do something crazy," he told reporters after his victory.

Caleb Johnson American Idol finale L
Michael Becker / Fox

Now that Caleb Johnson has been crowned season 13's American Idol winner, what's next for the Asheville, N.C., rocker?

"I want to write a rock opera," he told reporters. "I want to do a zombie rock opera. I want to do something crazy out there."

Johnson, 23, emerged victorious over 17-year-old runner-up Jena Irene despite a vocal cord hemorrhage and other problems right before the finale. Johnson, who auditioned for the show three times, said perseverance paid off.

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"After the past seasons, I went home and busted my butt, wrote music and played out shows, and I just worked and worked and worked and worked," he said. "That's why I'm so comfortable now onstage as you see me. It's just a natural thing because of all the groundwork I did at home."

Johnson admitted that he is not the stereotypical Idol winner.

"I mean, look at me guys," he cracked. "It's crazy. … I'm probably the antithesis of what American Idols have been."

He also acknowledged that Idol voters do not typically vote for rock 'n' roll singers -- and certainly not guys that go onstage and slay metal songs like Whitesnake's "Still of the Night."

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"American Idol is a pop show and I sing rock 'n' roll," he said. "I mean I sing Rush and Led Zeppelin as well as Aretha Franklin and Adele. What is so crazy is I think this is the first season that a rock 'n' roll singer has won. Not pop rock, just straight rock 'n' roll, and some of the viewers didn't like that because they are so accustomed to very nice — well, nice, good-looking people."

He added that what is so "cool" about Idol is how it opens "doors to all types of artists [in various] shapes, sizes and genres" to "come on this show, hone it and kill it."

Speaking on the red carpet, he said that the show also helped in another area.

"The nerves for me, they are gone," he said. "I don't really get nervous anymore. It's thrilling to be singing for audiences and getting responses."

Twitter: @Idol_Worship, @MicheleAmabile