American Idol 2014 winner Caleb Johnson was grinning ear to ear in his post-finale interview after the final season 13 results were announced Wednesday night. As the first rocker to win since David Cook in season 7 (and according to Caleb, the first ‘real’ rocker to ever win), Caleb was understandably proud of his accomplishments.

American Idol Winner Caleb Johnson

“This is crazy. This is absolutely… this is nuts. I can’t even begin to describe what is running through my mind right now. This is crazy. This is nuts,” he said.

Caleb said it is entirely his own fault that he didn’t make it through to the finals in his previous two tries auditioning for American Idol. “That was my own doing. I actually messed up. I messed up on the past two… seasons I auditioned. Just lack of experience and letting nerves get to me. Just not being completely in tune with who I am as a person, as a singer, as an artist.”

Instead of giving up, Caleb channeled all his energy into working his music as hard as he could back in his hometown of Asheville, NC. That’s why, he said, he is now so comfortable on stage.

The biggest key, Caleb says, is not to “care whether someone likes you or not or somebody has to like you, and also embrace the people who love you. Because you’re making a difference in people’s lives and you’re making them feel something with your music, with your voice, with your singing. And that, I think, is the biggest key… to stay grounded, to stay focused, and to stay true to who you are as a person.

Watch the rest of Caleb Johnson’s full post-American Idol finale press conference interview below:


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