Georgia's second "American Idol" contestant to make it to Hollywood appeared last night: country singer Caleb Lee Hutchinson, a 19 year old from Dallas in Paulding County.
"It's been a great day so far," Caleb said the day after the episode aired, doing a flurry of media interviews. He had a viewing party with his family Sunday night and said as his audition aired, he was sure his family was more excited than even he was.
Caleb during his audition charmed judge Luke Bryan by imitating him, repeating a liner he hears all the time from Bryan on 94.9/The Bull. "It was definitely a risk," "he said. "He could hated it but he was very kind to me." (Caleb's reward: he got to spend an hour with 94.9/The Bull's Jason & Kristen morning show today.)
He then sang bluegrass band the Steeldrivers' "If It Hadn't Been For Love." He thought it fit his style, enabling him to infuse blues and soul into his audition. The judges gave him a ticket to Hollywood, lauding him for the depth and texture of his vocals and his basic confidence in himself.
A South Paulding High School graduate, the 19 year old said music was always something he was drawn to. Nothing else ever caught his attention in school. He recalls his grandmother buying a karaoke machine when he was about five years old and he became obsessed imitating both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
"I think it was my uncle who bought me a black cowboy hat," he said. "I told everyone I was Johnny Cash."
Though he said he listened to plenty different genres of music, the pull of country was strong. And his skills truly excelled after his voice changed around age 14. ("I think it just happened," he said. "One day I couldn't sing Guns 'n Roses!") He began performing around Atlanta, especially Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen, where he opened for Gene Watson, T. Graham Brown and the Kentucky Headhunters. His first appearance there, coincidentally, he opened for season 4 runner-up Bo Bice in 2012. "I was star struck," he said. "But it feels like I've come full circle."
Here are other factoids:
The overnight ratings fell off week over week for "American Idol" this past Sunday vs. the debut, falling from 10.3 million to 7.7 million. Its 18-49 ratings dropped from a 2.3 to a 1.8.
"Idol" ratings counting three-day DVR usage for its debut climbed to 11.8 million.
Last Monday, the show faced off head to head against "The Voice" and lost. "The Voice" drew 11.9 million to the 8.4 million for "Idol."
The battle rounds begin tonight on "The Voice" with new judge Kelly Clarkson in the fray. Her team of 12 includes some great singers but in a Gold Derby survey, one stood out: Jamella. She received 45 percent of the vote.
Her support is a bit of a surprise given that she was "montaged," which is never a good sign for longevity on the show:
Here's Kelly's top 12 team:
Clay Aiken's Tweet of the week. He is following the NCAA:
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