The thirteenth season of American Idol, styled as American Idol XIII, premiered on the Fox television network on January 15, 2014.[14] Ryan Seacrest returned as host for his thirteenth season. Keith Urban was the only judge from the twelfth season to return. Former judge Jennifer Lopez, who returned after one season absence, and Harry Connick, Jr. joined the judging panel following the departures of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson.

On May 21, Caleb Johnson was announced the winner of the season, with Jena Irene as runner-up.

Show changes

There were a number of other major changes in the season, from the judges to the format of the show itself including the opening intro, which now uses the "Gyroscope 2.0". On May 9, 2013, Randy Jackson announced that he would no longer serve as a judge.[15] On May 30, 2013, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj also announced they would not return to the judging panel.[16] On August 1, 2013, it was confirmed that Keith Urban would return as a judge for another season.[17] Executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were succeeded by Per Blankens, previously of Idol, the Swedish version of the Idols format.[18] On June 25, 2013, it was confirmed that producers Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager would join Blankens as executive producers of the show.[19] Bill DeRonde replaced Warwick as a director of the audition episodes, and Louis J. Horvitz also replaced Gregg Gelfand as a director of the show, who had been directing since the sixth season.[20] Fox television executive Mike Darnell who helped launch American Idol in 2002 left as programming head of Fox, and Fox Sports executive David Hill was hired to oversee the series.[21] Rickey Minor returned to the show as musical director after having left at the end of the ninth season to go to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[22]

In August 2013, Jennifer Lopez's boyfriend Casper Smart stated Lopez would be returning as an American Idol judge.[23] On August 22, 2013, it was reported that Jimmy Iovine would not return as the in-house mentor for this season, but he is to be replaced by former judge Randy Jackson.[24] On August 30, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Harry Connick, Jr. signed a deal to join the panel as the third judge and that Simon Fuller held a party the night before with all three judges on hand to toast the forthcoming announcement.[25] On September 3, 2013, Lopez and Connick Jr. were officially announced as judges for this season along with the confirmation of Jackson being the new mentor. Lopez is the first American Idol judge to return after leaving at the end of the eleventh season. It was also later reported that Idol alumni Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry would be assisting Jackson in mentoring the contestants.[26]

In a rules change from past seasons, semifinalists from the twelfth season (but not previous seasons) who were not in the top 10, nor on the tour and the age limit past above 28, were eligible to return, provided they met all other requirements.[27] That rule will also apply to this season's semi-finalists and finalists who were not in this season's top 10 next season. This season the viewers may also vote for their favorite contestants via Google Search, bringing the total number of ways the viewers can vote to five (the other four methods were by phone, texting, supervote online on and with American Idol App on mobile devices), with the number of votes limited to 50 for each method of voting. This season AT&T ended their sponsorship and it is therefore possible to text-votes with other service providers.[28] Idol teamed up with Facebook to present "on-air visualizations" showing real-time East Coast voting developments, including live "demographic voting trends and relative contestant rankings".[29] Voting may also start as soon as the performance shows start this season, and real time vote rankings were shown while the show is still in progress, and each contestant were assigned the same telephone number all through the competition.

Regional auditions

Auditions took place in the following cities:[30]

air date
Audition cityDateAudition venueCallback dateCallback venueTickets to Hollywood
January 15, 2014Boston, MassachusettsAugust 2, 2013Gillette StadiumSeptember 3–4, 2013Boston Marriott Copley Place[31]25
Austin, TexasAugust 7, 2013Frank Erwin CenterSeptember 25–26, 2013Austin Convention Center [15]35
January 16, 2014
San Francisco, CaliforniaJuly 16, 2013AT&T ParkOctober 21–22, 2013Westin St. Francis[15]19
January 22, 2014Detroit, MichiganJuly 21, 2013Ford FieldOctober 8–9, 2013Book-Cadillac Hotel[15]40
January 23, 2014Atlanta, GeorgiaJuly 26, 2013Gwinnett CenterOctober 29–30, 2013W Atlanta Midtown[15]44
January 29, 2014Salt Lake City, UtahJuly 11, 2013EnergySolutions ArenaOctober 2–3, 2013Marriott Hotel at City Creek[15]30
January 30, 2014Omaha, NebraskaAugust 11, 2013CenturyLink CenterOctober 13–14, 2013CenturyLink Center Omaha[15]21
Total number of tickets to Hollywood212

In addition, special audition bus tours were held in Little Rock, Arkansas; Oxford, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[15][15] Those chosen proceeded on to Salt Lake City to audition in front of the judges.

An auditioner this season was Tristen Langley, son of first season's third-placed finalist Nikki McKibbin, who made history as the first of the second-generation contestants on American Idol.[15] He was eliminated in the "Hollywood or Home" round.

Hollywood rounds

A special "Hollywood or Home" round was introduced this season whereby contestants were eliminated soon after they have landed in LAX airport before they even reached Hollywood. 52 contestants the judges were uncertain of performed solo in an airplane hangar, and 32 were sent back to the airport.[15] The 160 contestants left then proceeded on to Hollywood and performed solo in the Dolby Theatre in groups of ten. After this round, 104 contestants remained where they performed in groups of three or four. 77 contestants went through to a further solo round.

The Hollywood rounds ended with a Top 30 being announced on February 12 and 13, 2014. However, a new twist was added and the judges chose only 15 girls and 14 boys, with the "15th boy" to be chosen by the voting public. The options were Ben Briley or Neco Starr. The result of the vote and the name of the public's choice to complete the Top 30 was announced on February 18. And it was Ben Briley who had made into the Top 30.


The following is a list of Top 30 semi-finalists who were not selected to perform:

ContestantAge (on show)HometownAudition city
Andrina Brogden19Fargo, North DakotaOmaha, Nebraska
Kenzie Hall17Draper, UtahSalt Lake City, Utah
Jillian Jensen21Rochester, MassachusettsBoston, Massachusetts
Brandy Neelly19Louisville, KentuckyDetroit, Michigan
Austin Wolfe16Park City, UtahSalt Lake City, Utah
ContestantAge (on show)HometownAudition city
Jordan Brisbane16Savannah, GeorgiaAtlanta, Georgia
Ethan Harris20Garrattsville, New YorkDetroit, Michigan
Briston Maroney16Knoxville, TennesseeSalt Lake City, Utah
Casey Thrasher22Tuscaloosa, AlabamaSalt Lake City, Utah
Maurice Townsend26Grand Rapids, MichiganDetroit, Michigan

The following is a list of Top 20 semi-finalists who failed to reach the finals:

ContestantAge (on show)HometownAudition city
Bria Anai16Lithonia, GeorgiaAtlanta, Georgia
Briana Oakley17Antioch, CaliforniaSan Francisco, California
Marrialle Sellars17Indianapolis, IndianaDetroit, Michigan
ContestantAge (on show)HometownAudition city
Malcolm Allen21Wrightsville, ArkansasAustin, Texas
Spencer Lloyd19Bryant, ArkansasAustin, Texas
George Lovett24Baltimore, MarylandAtlanta, Georgia
Emmanuel Zidor24Miami, FloridaSan Francisco, California

The aforementioned contestants and three finalists outside of the top 10 will be eligible to audition for the fourteenth season.

  • Casey Thrasher auditioned for the fourteenth season, but he was cut at top 48.
  • Bria Anai, Jordan Brisbane, Ethan Harris, Briston Maroney, Maurice Townsend, Marrialle Sellars, and Emmanuel Zidor auditioned for the fourteenth season, but they were cut before they could see the judges.


The semi-finals round started on February 18. The three-day event on February 18, 19 and 20 was marketed as "Rush Week." Below are the two semi-final groups (females and males) with contestants listed in their performance order. The top five males and top five females, along with the three wild card choices by the judges, advanced to the finals. In a change, the judges eliminated five of each gender before they even had a chance to perform in front of the live studio audience. The females started the semifinal round, and the males continued on following night's episode, and the contestants will perform songs of their choice (there was no particular theme).[16]

The "Rush Week" twist was not well received by critics. As described by Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo TV, "The other five just sat backstage for a couple hours (while their loved ones sat in the audience), waited in vain for their names to be called, and eventually went home."[16]


1Majesty Rose"Happy"Advanced
2Kristen O'Connor"Turning Tables"Wild Card
3Briana Oakley"Warrior"Eliminated
4Jena Irene"Paint It Black"Wild Card
5Bria Anai"Wrong Side of a Love Song"Wild Card
6Marrialle Sellars"Roar"Eliminated
7Jessica Meuse"Drink a Beer"Advanced
8Emily Piriz"Paris (Ooh La La)"Advanced
9MK Nobilette"All of Me"Advanced
10Malaya Watson"Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)"Advanced
  • Eliminated: Andrina Brogden, Austin Wolfe, Brandy Neelly, Jillian Jensen, Kenzie Hall


1Caleb Johnson"Stay with Me"Advanced
2CJ Harris"Shelter"Wild Card
3Emmanuel Zidor"Best of My Love"Eliminated
4Sam Woolf"Babylon"Advanced
5George Lovett"Grenade"Eliminated
6Dexter Roberts"This Ole Boy"Advanced
7Alex Preston"Volcano"Advanced
8Malcolm Allen"Comin' from Where I'm From"Eliminated
9Ben Briley"Soulshine"Advanced
10Spencer Lloyd"Love Don't Die"Wild Card
  • Eliminated: Briston Maroney, Casey Thrasher, Ethan Harris, Jordan Brisbane, Maurice Townsend

Wild Card round

Following those ten singers advancing on Thursday, February 20, five of the remaining ten semi-finalists were selected by the judges to compete in the Wild Card round. The Wild Card round immediately began, following the announcement of the ten finalists. Following another performance by each Wild Card contender, the judges then selected three contestants to advance to the final group of 13.[16] For their performances, the contestants prepared to reprise their third round Hollywood solos for consideration. Jena Irene and Spencer Lloyd each performed their own, respective original songs.

1C.J. Harris"Bring It On Home to Me"Advanced
2Jena Irene"Unbreakable Me"Advanced
3Spencer Lloyd"Ordinary Girl"Eliminated
4Bria Anai"It's a Man's Man's Man's World"Eliminated
5Kristen O'Connor"Unconditionally"Advanced


  • Caleb Johnson (born April 23, 1991)[16] is from Asheville, North Carolina. He previously auditioned in the tenth and eleventh seasons, but he was cut off during the selection of top 25. He auditioned in Atlanta where he performed an original song "Into the Void". In the Hollywood round he first performed "Sympathy for the Devil", followed a performance of "Too Close" in a group which included CJ Harris, and "Radioactive" for the last solo. He was announced as the winner on May 21. Johnson is the second returning contestant to win Idol after Candice Glover in the previous season.
  • Jena Irene (born July 13, 1996)[16] is from Farmington Hills, Michigan. She auditioned in Detroit with Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". She performed "Video Games" during the Hollywood for the first solo, Alex Clare's "Too Close" for the group round, and her own composition "Unbreakable Me" for the Final Judgement. She cites Paramore and Incubus as her greatest musical influences.[16] She is the first female Wild Card contestant and the second Wild Card contestant after Clay Aiken in the second season to have made it to the Grand Finale. She was announced as the runner-up.
  • Alex Preston (born May 6, 1993)[16] is from Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. He performed an original song "Fairytales" for his audition. During Hollywood week, he performed "Scream and Shout" for the first solo, and his own composition "Fairytales" for the final solo. He was eliminated on May 15, 2014, and came in third place. Prior to his elimination, Preston had never been in the bottom 3 or in the bottom 2 before.
  • Jessica Meuse (born October 19, 1990 in Round Rock, Texas)[16][16] is from Slapout, Alabama. She auditioned in Atlanta singing one of her own songs, "Blue-Eyed Lie". She reprised the song for the top 8 and sung another original, "Done", during Hollywood Week. Prior to auditioning she had written over sixty original songs and self-released a debut album, called "What's So Hard About Bein' a Man", in 2011. She was eliminated on May 8, coming in fourth place.
  • Sam Woolf (born April 19, 1996)[16] is from Bradenton, Florida. He auditioned in Boston, singing "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran. He sang "Waiting on the World to Change" on the first round in Hollywood, and his original composition entitled "I Tried" in the final solo of the Hollywood Round. He was saved from elimination by the judges after receiving the lowest number of votes in the top eight round. He was eliminated on May 1, coming in fifth place.
  • CJ Harris (born January 28, 1991)[52] is from Jasper, Alabama. He auditioned in Salt Lake City, where he sang "Soulshine". He performed "Trouble" in the first Hollywood round, and was in a group with fellow finalist Caleb Johnson, performing the Alex Clare song "Too Close". For the final solo he performed "Bring It On Home to Me", however, he was asked to perform again in the Final Judgement to compete against Casey Thrasher, and chose to sing "Whipping Post". He was eliminated on April 24, coming in sixth place.
  • Dexter Roberts (born July 12, 1991)[53] is from Fayette, Alabama. He performed "Drive" for his audition, and for the group round he was part of the group Backstreet Cowboys together with Casey Thrasher and fellow finalist Ben Briley, performing the song "I Want It That Way". For the final solo he performed an original song, "Farmer's Grandson". He was eliminated on April 17, 2014, coming in seventh place.
  • Malaya Watson (born September 24, 1997)[54] is from Southfield, Michigan. She is a tuba player of the marching band of Southfield High School. She auditioned in Detroit with Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way". In the first round in Hollywood, she sang "Brand New Me" by Alicia Keys. She performed "I Believe" in the final solo on Hollywood round. She cites her two grandfathers and her father as her personal musical influences. She described her style in singing from Sly Stone and Beyoncé.[55] She is the second youngest contestant in American Idol history that has reached the live show, next to tenth season contestant, Thia Megia. She was eliminated on April 10, coming in eighth place.
  • Majesty Rose (born February 29, 1992)[56] is from Goldsboro, North Carolina. She auditioned in Atlanta, where she sang Coldplay's "Violet Hill". Prior on auditioning, she was a pre-school teacher and she graduated in Eastern Wayne High School on 2011. In Hollywood, she performed "1234" and "Stars". She was eliminated on March 27, coming in ninth place.
  • MK Nobilette (born August 20, 1993)[57] is from San Francisco, California. She auditioned in San Francisco with "If I Were Your Woman,"[58] and advanced to Hollywood, where she was one of many contestants who had to "sing for their lives," or get back on the plane home.[59] For the Hollywood rounds she chose an Allen Stone song for the a cappella round, which was not aired.[60] She performed "Royals in the group round. For her final Hollywood solo she did "The A Team" by Ed Sheeran.[58] She is the first openly gay finalist to be publicly acknowledged on the show.[13] She was eliminated on March 20, 2014, and came in tenth place. She also did not appear or sing in the live finale, due to being ill at that time.
  • Ben Briley (born March 19, 1989)[61] is from Gallatin, Tennessee. He auditioned in Atlanta, singing "Arms of a Woman". He performed "Stars" in the final solo of the Hollywood Round, and was in a group called Backstreet Cowboys with fellow finalist Dexter Roberts, performing the Backstreet Boys song "I Want It That Way". Ben Briley and Neco Starr both appeared before the judges for the Final Judgement, however the judges could not decide who to choose, and sent both to a vote by fans, which was won by Briley. He was eliminated on March 13, coming in eleventh place.
  • Emily Piriz (born January 28, 1996)[17] is from Orlando, Florida. She auditioned in Atlanta, singing "Mamma Knows Best" by Jessie J. She sang "Nothing But the Water" on the first round in Hollywood. She performed "Stars" in the final solo of the Hollywood Round. Prior on joining this competition, she also auditioned in The X Factor USA. She cites Pink and Kelly Clarkson as her musical influences. She was eliminated on March 6, coming in twelfth place.
  • Kristen O'Connor (born April 19, 1989) is from Sebastian, Florida. She auditioned in Atlanta, singing "Good Morning Heartache". She performed "Treasure" in the Hollywood group rounds with her fellow finalist, Sam Woolf. She performed "Unconditionally" on the Hollywood Rounds. She cites Christina Aguilera and Jessie J as her musical influences. Prior on joining this competition, she was a nurse. She was eliminated on February 27, coming in thirteenth place. She is the fifth wild card finalist to be the eliminated first in the finals, with her predecessors Leah LaBelle, Jasmine Murray, Ashthon Jones and Jeremy Rosado.


In this season, there are 13 weeks of the finals and 13 finalists, with one finalist eliminated per week based on the American public's votes. Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" is used as the send-off song played when a contestant is eliminated, using the eliminated contestant's version of the song. Former judge Randy Jackson replaced Jimmy Iovine as the weekly mentor to the contestants.[26]

Top 13 – This Is Me

1Dexter Roberts"Aw Naw"Safe
2Malaya Watson"Runaway Baby"Bottom 3
3Kristen O'Connor"Beautiful Disaster"Eliminated
4Ben Briley"Folsom Prison Blues"Safe
5C.J. Harris"Radio"Safe
6MK Nobilette"Satisfaction"Bottom 3
7Majesty Rose"Tightrope"Safe
8Jena Irene"The Scientist"Safe
9Alex Preston"A Beautiful Mess"Safe
10Jessica Meuse"The Crow & the Butterfly"Safe
11Emily Piriz"Glitter in the Air"Safe
12Sam Woolf"Unwell"Safe
13Caleb Johnson"Pressure and Time"Safe

Top 12 – Home

1Jena Irene"Suddenly I See"Bottom 3
2Alex Preston"I Don't Want to Be"Safe
3Jessica Meuse"White Flag"Safe
4Dexter Roberts"Lucky Man"Safe
5Emily Piriz"Let's Get Loud"Eliminated
6Caleb Johnson"Working Man"Safe
7MK Nobilette"Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)"Bottom 3
8C.J. Harris"Waiting on the World to Change"Safe
9Sam Woolf"Just One"Safe
10Malaya Watson"Take Me to the King"Safe
11Ben Briley"Turning Home"Safe
12Majesty Rose"Fix You"Safe

Top 11 – Songs from the Cinema

OrderContestantSongFeatured MovieResult
1Sam Woolf"Come Together"Across the UniverseBottom 3
2Jessica Meuse"The Sound of Silence"The GraduateSafe
3C.J. Harris"Can't You See"BlowSafe
4Dexter Roberts"Sweet Home Alabama"Forrest GumpSafe
5Ben Briley"Bennie and the Jets"27 DressesEliminated
6Majesty Rose"Let It Go"FrozenBottom 3
7Caleb Johnson"Skyfall"SkyfallSafe
8MK Nobilette"Make You Feel My Love"Hope FloatsSafe
9Alex Preston"Falling Slowly"OnceSafe
10Jena Irene"Decode"TwilightSafe
11Malaya Watson"I Am Changing"DreamgirlsSafe

Top 10 – Billboard Top 10 Charts

The finalists picked songs from Top 10 Billboard charts from 2011 to 2014.[17] Starting this week, the studio versions of each contestant performance are available at iTunes.

1MK Nobilette"Fuckin' Perfect"Eliminated
2Dexter Roberts"Cruise"Bottom 3
3Jena Irene"Clarity"Safe
4Alex Preston"Story of My Life"Safe
5Malaya Watson"When I Was Your Man"Safe
6Caleb Johnson"The Edge of Glory"Safe
7C.J. Harris"Invisible"Safe
8Jessica Meuse"Pumped Up Kicks"Safe
9Majesty Rose"Wake Me Up"Bottom 3
10Sam Woolf"We Are Young"Safe

Top 9 – (I'm with the) Band!

The finalists performed as lead singer of the show's band, singing songs of their choice.[17]

1Alex Preston"Don't Speak"Safe
2Majesty Rose"Shake It Out"Eliminated
3Dexter Roberts"Boondocks"Safe
4Malaya Watson"The Long and Winding Road"Safe
5Sam Woolf"Hey There Delilah"Bottom 3
6Jessica Meuse"Rhiannon"Safe
7C.J. Harris"If It Hadn't Been for Love"Bottom 3
8Caleb Johnson"Dazed and Confused"Safe
9Jena Irene"Bring Me to Life"Safe

Top 8 (first week) – Back to the Start

The finalists reprised the songs they performed when they first auditioned, with Jessica Meuse and Alex Preston each performing their own, respective original compositions.[17] They also performed duets for the first time this season.

1Jessica Meuse"Blue-Eyed Lie"Safe
2C.J. Harris"Soulshine"Bottom 3
3Jena Irene & Alex Preston"Just Give Me a Reason"N/A
4Sam Woolf"Lego House"Saved
5Caleb Johnson & Jessica Meuse"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"N/A
6Malaya Watson"Ain't No Way"Bottom 3
7Dexter Roberts"One Mississippi"Safe
8Malaya Watson & Sam Woolf"Lucky"N/A
9Jena Irene"Rolling in the Deep"Safe
10C.J. Harris & Dexter Roberts"Alright"N/A
11Caleb Johnson"Chain of Fools"Safe
12Alex Preston"Fairytales"Safe

Top 8 (second week) – Songs from the 1980s

1Jena Irene"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"Safe
2Dexter Roberts"Keep Your Hands to Yourself"Safe
3Sam Woolf & Alex Preston"The Girl Is Mine"N/A
4Malaya Watson"Through the Fire"Eliminated
5Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson"It's Only Love"N/A
6Jessica Meuse"Call Me"Safe
7Sam Woolf"Time After Time"Safe
8C.J. Harris & Malaya Watson"I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"N/A
9Alex Preston"Every Breath You Take"Safe
10Jessica Meuse & Dexter Roberts"Islands in the Stream"N/A
11C.J. Harris"Free Fallin'"Bottom 2
12Caleb Johnson"Faithfully"Safe

Top 7 – Competitors' Choice

Every finalist chose a song for each remaining contestant, who then selected one song choice to perform. The songs used for the duets and trios were not a product of the theme.[17]

1Caleb Johnson"Family Tree"Alex PrestonSafe
2Jessica Meuse"Gunpowder & Lead"Sam WoolfBottom 2
3Alex Preston & Sam Woolf"Let Her Go"N/AN/A
4C.J. Harris"Gravity"Caleb JohnsonSafe
5Dexter Roberts"Muckalee Creek Water"C.J. HarrisEliminated
6Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson"Gimme Shelter"N/AN/A
7Alex Preston"The A Team"Dexter RobertsSafe
8Sam Woolf"Sail Away"Jessica MeuseSafe
9C.J. Harris, Jessica Meuse, & Dexter Roberts"Compass"N/AN/A
10Jena Irene"Creep"Caleb JohnsonSafe

Top 6 – Rock 'n' Roll / Country

For the first time in the competition, each finalist sang two songs each: one from the rock 'n' roll genre, and the other from the country genre.[17]

1Jena Irene"Barracuda"Safe
2Sam Woolf"It's Time"Safe
3C.J. Harris"American Woman"Eliminated
4Alex Preston"Animal"Safe
5Caleb Johnson"Sting Me"Safe
6Jessica Meuse"Somebody to Love"Bottom 2
7Sam Woolf"You're Still the One"Safe
8Caleb Johnson"Undo It"Safe
9Alex Preston"Always on My Mind"Safe
10Jena Irene"So Small"Safe
11C.J. Harris"Whatever It Is"Eliminated
12Jessica Meuse"Jolene"Bottom 2

Top 5 – America's Choice

The finalists sang songs requested by the voting public.[17]

1Alex Preston"Sweater Weather"Safe
2Caleb Johnson"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"Safe
3Jena Irene, Alex Preston, & Sam Woolf"Best Day of My Life"N/A
4Jessica Meuse"Human"Safe
5Sam Woolf"Sing"Eliminated
6Jena Irene"My Body"Safe
7Caleb Johnson & Jessica Meuse"Beast of Burden"N/A
8Alex Preston"Say Something"Safe
9Jena Irene"Valerie"Safe
10Sam Woolf"How to Save a Life"Eliminated
11Jessica Meuse"Summertime Sadness"Safe
12Caleb Johnson"Still of the Night"Safe

On results night, the contestants were given the option to choose to have no one eliminated this week, but to eliminate two contestants the following week. In order for this to happen, the decision had to be unanimous after anonymous voting. Since two of the contestants (Jena Irene and Alex Preston) wanted to see an elimination happen this week, Sam Woolf was revealed to be the contestant with the lowest total of votes and was eliminated.

Top 4 – Love: Break-Ups, Dedications, and Make-Ups

The finalists sang three rounds of songs about love: the first dealing with break-ups, the second dealing with personal dedications to others, and the third dealing with make-ups.[17]

1Caleb Johnson"You Give Love a Bad Name"Safe
2Jessica Meuse"Since U Been Gone"Eliminated
3Alex Preston"Too Close"Safe
4Jena Irene"Heartbreaker"Safe
5Caleb Johnson"Travelin Band"Safe
6Jessica Meuse"So What"Eliminated
7Jena Irene"Bad Romance"Safe
8Alex Preston"I'm Yours"Safe
9Caleb Johnson"Maybe I'm Amazed"Safe
10Jessica Meuse"You and I"Eliminated
11Jena Irene"Can't Help Falling in Love"Safe
12Alex Preston"Yellow"Safe

Top 3 – Randy Jackson's Choice / Judges' Choice / Hometown's Choice

The finalists sang two new songs chosen by the judges and in-house mentor Randy Jackson; the third was a reprisal of a previous performance, selected by the finalists' hometowns.[17] Also, the performance show marked the series' 500th episode overall.

1Caleb Johnson"Never Tear Us Apart"Safe
2Alex Preston"Pompeii"Eliminated
3Jena Irene"Titanium"Safe
4Caleb Johnson"Demons"Safe
5Alex Preston"Stay"Eliminated
6Jena Irene"Heart Attack"Safe
7Caleb Johnson"Dazed and Confused"Safe
8Alex Preston"Story of My Life"Eliminated
9Jena Irene"Creep"Safe

Top 2 – Simon Fuller's Choice / Favorite Performance / Winner's Single

This week, the final two contestants sang a song chosen by the show's creator, a song from their previous appearance on the show this season, and a coronation song for the winner.

1Jena Irene"Dog Days Are Over"Runner-up
2Caleb Johnson"Dream On"Winner
3Jena Irene"Can't Help Falling in Love"Runner-up
4Caleb Johnson"Maybe I'm Amazed"Winner
5Jena Irene"We Are One"Runner-up
6Caleb Johnson"As Long as You Love Me"Winner

Elimination chart

FemalesMalesTop 20Top 13Wild CardWinner
Did Not PerformSafeSafe FirstSafe LastEliminatedJudges' Save
Stage:Semi-FinalsWild CardFinals
1Caleb JohnsonTop 13Winner
2Jena IreneWild CardTop 13Bottom 3Runner-up
3Alex PrestonTop 13Elim
4Jessica MeuseTop 13Bottom 2Bottom 2Elim
5Sam WoolfTop 13Bottom 3Bottom 3SavedElim
6C.J. HarrisWild CardTop 13Bottom 3Bottom 3Bottom 2Elim
7Dexter RobertsTop 13Bottom 3Elim
8Malaya WatsonTop 13Bottom 3Bottom 3Elim
9Majesty RoseTop 13Bottom 3Bottom 3Elim
10MK NobiletteTop 13Bottom 3Bottom 3Elim
11Ben BrileyTop 13Elim
12Emily PirizTop 13Elim
13Kristen O'ConnorWild CardTop 13Elim
14–15Bria AnaiWild CardElim
Spencer LloydWild Card
16–20Malcolm AllenElim
George Lovett
Briana Oakley
Marrialle Sellars
Emmanuel Zidor
  • Due to the judges using their one 'Judges' Save' per season, in order to save Woolf, the 'Top 8' remained intact for another week, and no one was eliminated at the end of the show on April 3.
  • During the 'Top 5' results show the remaining contestants were given the option by each taking an anonymous vote to either go by America's votes and send only one person home or if all votes were "yes" the 'Top 5' will remain intact for one more week and two contestants go home next week. The votes ended with two out of the five voting no. Without revealing the bottom 2, Ryan announced that Sam Woolf had received the lowest amount of votes and was eliminated.

Results show performances

WeekPerformer(s)TitleHot 100 reactionDigital sales reactionPerformance type
Top 13Candice Glover[71]"Cried" / "Same Kinda Man"Did not chartLive
Jake Bugg[71]"Me & You"Did not chartLive
Top 12Phillip Phillips"Raging Fire"58 (debut)74,000 (debut)[72]Live
Kodaline"All I Want"Did not chart13,000 (+885%)[72]Live
Top 11Harry Connick, Jr."One Fine Thing" / "Come by Me"Did not chartLive
Mali Music"Beautiful"13 (Bubbling Under)[73]Live
Top 10Jennifer Lopez featuring Allison Iraheta, Jessica Sanchez, Pia Toscano & French Montana"I Luh Ya Papi"77(+21)[74]27,710 (+89%)pre-recorded
Royal Teeth"Wild"Did not chartLive
Top 9Janelle Monáe"What is Love?"Did not chartLive
Top 8
Week 1
Daughtry"Waiting for Superman"Did not chartLive
Top 5Keith Urban"Good Thing"9,000 (+ >8,000)[75]Live
Top 3Scotty McCreery[76]"Feelin' It"7,700[77]
Top 2American Idol Top 13 (minus MK Nobilette)"Breakaway"UnreleasedLive
FinaleJena Irene & Caleb Johnson"We Will Rock You" / "Just a Girl" / "It's Only Love"Unreleasedlive
Phillip Phillips & Sam Woolf"Home" / "Raging Fire"Unreleased
Jennifer Nettles & Jessica Meuse"That Girl" / "Wrecking Ball"Unreleased
Jennifer Lopez"First Love"
Kiss & Caleb Johnson"Love Gun" / "Shout It Out Loud"Unreleased
Aloe Blacc & American Idol Boys"The Man"Unreleased
Demi Lovato & American Idol Girls (minus MK Nobilette)"Really Don't Care" / "Neon Lights"Unreleased
Jena Irene"Decode"Unreleased
Paramore & Jena Irene"Ain't It Fun"Unreleased
John Legend"You & I (Nobody in the World)"
John Legend & Malaya Watson"All of Me"Unreleased
Jason Mraz & Alex Preston"Love Someone"Unreleased
Richard Marx & Ryan Seacrest"Right Here Waiting"Unreleased
Darius Rucker"True Believers"
Darius Rucker, CJ Harris & Dexter Roberts"Alright"Unreleased
Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson"Need You Now"Unreleased
Lady Antebellum"Bartender"78 (debut)51,000 (debut)[78]
Harry Connick, Jr., Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez & Keith Urban"True Colors" / "Go Your Own Way"Unreleased
Caleb Johnson"As Long as You Love Me"Did not chart10,000 (debut)[79]


Caleb Johnson comment

During his interview with AfterBuzz TV following the Top 5 elimination show, Caleb Johnson made offensive remarks about his fans who tweet him song suggestions.[80][19] "[Twitter] gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me," Caleb said. "I don't really enjoy having to see somebody telling me what song I have to sing. I think at this point of the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs and represent me. I don't need 10,000 people saying, 'You should sing this, you should sing that. Listen to me!' Fortunately, guys, I'm going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not." [19][19]

His comment has been described as "arrogant", with some fans turning against him.[19][19] After his fans expressed outrage on Twitter, Caleb issued an apology on his Facebook page.[19] "For the record that juvenile comment I made in the interview was not directed towards my fans but to the wackos that send hundreds of hate messages a day to me! You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Sorry if it offended anybody it was the wrong choice of words. Also I greatly appreciate it when you guys give me song suggestions but it gets really overwhelming at the volume it comes in so please understand ! Rock on !:)" [19]


Critical reception

Harry Connick Jr. was lauded for his performance as a judge. USA Today, Rolling Stone, and MTV all claimed that he "stole the spotlight" during the season premiere with his humor and knowledgeable feedback.[19][19][19] Kristin Dos Santos of E! Online suggested that Connick Jr. could save the struggling show. She called him better than Simon Cowell, writing that while he is "brutally honest", he also shows heart.[20] Robert Rorke of the New York Post wrote that Connick Jr. was unlikely to "save" American Idol, but also wrote that he made the show watchable again by bringing class and keeping the focus on the contestants.[20]


U.S. Nielsen ratings

For the first time in nearly twelve years, an American Idol episode dropped beneath the ten-million viewer mark. This occurred on February 18, 2014. The last time an episode was below this mark was July 24, 2002.

Episode list
No.EpisodeAir dateRatings/Share
1"It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day!"January 158.7 / 144.7 / 1315.195[20][20][94]
2"The Auditions Head West"January 167.5 / 123.9 / 1213.356[94][20][20]
3"Do It For Detroit!"January 227.8 / 124.0 / 1113.294[20][20][99]
4"Just Peachy!"January 237.2 / 113.4 / 1012.396[99][21][21]
5"Be-UTAH-ful"January 297.3 / 113.8 / 1012.738[21][21][104]
6"OMG! Omaha!"January 306.6 / 103.2 / 911.4211[104][21][21]
7"Hollywood or Home: An Idol Cliff 'Hangar'"February 58.0 / 123.9 / 1113.439[21][21][109]
8"Hollywood Week: Group Love"February 66.5 / 103.1 / 911.0813[109][22][22]
9"Hollywood Week: Final Judgment"February 126.7 / 103.4 / 1011.679[22][22][114]
10"A Hollywood Ending"February 135.8 / 93.0 / 910.1810[114][22][22]
11"Rush Week: Girls' Night"February 185.9 / 92.7 / 89.7311[22][22][119]
12"Rush Week: Guys' Night"February 196.0 / 92.6 / 89.9514[119][23][23]
13"Rush Week: Meet Your Finalists"February 205.7 / 92.4 / 89.3615[119][23][23]
14"The Top 13: This Is Me"February 266.6 / 102.7 / 810.7814[23][23][126]
15"The Top 13 Results"February 275.9 / 92.4 / 710.0117[126][23][23]
16"The Top 12: Home"March 56.4 / 102.7 / 810.5313[23][24][131]
17"The Top 12 Results"March 66.1 / 102.2 / 79.7617[131][24][24]
18"The Top 11: Songs from the Cinema"March 126.2 / 102.4 / 710.2712[24][24][136]
19"The Top 11 Results"March 135.4 / 92.2 / 68.8621[136][24][24]
20"The Top 10: Billboard Top 10 Charts"March 196.0 / 102.2 / 79.8313[24][25][141]
21"The Top 10 Results"March 205.1 / 82.0 / 68.4122[141][25][25]
22"The Top 9"March 265.6 / 92.2 / 79.3315[25][25][146]
23"The Top 9 Results"March 274.9 / 81.9 / 67.9824[146][25][25]
24"The Top 8"April 25.6 / 92.1 / 68.8921[25][150][151]
25"The Top 8 Results"April 34.9 / 81.7 / 57.7225[151][152][153]
26"Top 8 Redux"April 95.4 / 92.0 / 78.9018[154][155][156]
27"Top 8 Redux Results"April 104.7 / 81.8 / 57.6323[156][157][158]
28"The Top 7"April 165.2 / 81.9 / 68.5314[159][27][161]
29"Top 7 Results"April 174.9 / 81.9 / 67.9715[161][27][27]
30"The Top 6"April 235.4 / 92.1 / 79.0217[27][27][166]
31"Top 6 Results"April 244.7 / 81.8 / 57.6824[166][27][27]
32"The Top 5"April 305.2 / 81.9 / 68.7919[27][28][171]
33"Top 5 Results"May 14.3 / 71.5 / 57.03>25[171][28][28]
34"The Top 4"May 74.9 / 81.8 / 67.9722[28][28][176]
35"Top 4 Results"May 84.5 / 71.6 / 57.18>25[176][28][28]
36"The Top 3"May 145.4 / 92.1 / 68.9319[28][29][181]
37"Top 3 Results"May 155.2 / 82.0 / 68.6721[181][29][29]
38"The Final 2"May 204.0 / 71.7 / 66.76[29][29]
39"Finale"May 216.1 / 102.6 / 910.53[29][29]

DVR ratings

Episode list
No.EpisodeAir dateDVR 18–49Total 18–49DVR viewers
Total viewers
1"Auditions #1"January[29][189]
2"Auditions #2"January 16N/AN/AN/AN/A[189]
3"Auditions #3"January[190]
4"Auditions #4"January[190]
5"Auditions #5"January[191]
6"Auditions #6"January 300.84.01.88813.312[191]
7"Hollywood or Home"February[192]
8"Hollywood Group Round"February[192]
9"Hollywood Round, Top 30 reveal Part #1"February[193]
10"Hollywood Round, Top 30 reveal Part #2"February[193]
11"Rush Week: Girls' Night"February 19N/AN/AN/AN/A[194]
12"Rush Week: Guys' Night"February[194]
13"Rush Week: Meet Your Finalists"February[194]
14"The Top 13: This Is Me"February 26N/AN/AN/AN/A
15"The Top 13 Results"February 27N/AN/AN/AN/A
16"The Top 12: Home"March 5N/AN/AN/AN/A
17"The Top 12 Results"March 6N/AN/AN/AN/A
18"The Top 11: Songs from the Cinema"March 12N/AN/AN/AN/A
19"The Top 11 Results"March 13N/AN/AN/AN/A
20"The Top 10: Billboard Top 10 Charts"March 19N/AN/AN/AN/A
21"The Top 10 Results"March 20N/AN/AN/AN/A
22"The Top 9"March 26
23"The Top 9 Results"March 27

Contestants appearances on other talent shows/seasons

  • Jillian Jensen, in 2012, auditioned in the season two of The X Factor, but was eliminated by mentor Demi Lovato and failed to make it to the live finals
  • Emily Piriz, auditioned for The X Factor multiple times before, but did not make it to Boot Camp stage
  • Four auditionees in season 14 were failed to advance through the semi-final stage:
    • Maddie Walker, who auditioned in Omaha, cut on the group round of Hollywood Week
    • Michael Simeon, who auditioned in Salt Lake City, cut on the Green Mile
    • Sarina-Joi Crowe, who auditioned in Atlanta, cut on the Green Mile
    • Savion Wright, who auditioned in Austin, cut on the Green Mile