Sorry, Alabama. It’s now official – North Carolina is the go-to state for “American Idols.”
With Asheville rocker Caleb Johnson’s win on the TV singing competition late Wednesday, the Tar Heel State can now claim three “Idol” winners – Season 3’s Fantasia Barrino, Season 10’s Scotty McCreery and now Season 13’s Johnson.
Before Wednesday, North Carolina and Alabama had been tied with two “Idols” apiece. (Alabama can claim Season 2’s Ruben Studdard and Season 5’s Taylor Hicks.)
“You deserve it, take it all in! Welcome to the family!” McCreery, the Garner native and current N.C. State University student, tweeted to Johnson on Wednesday night.
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North Carolina’s dominance is even more impressive when you look at those from the state who didn’t win the “Idol” title but still went on to successful music careers:
• Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken (now a Democratic congressional candidate) is in fourth place in all-time “Idol” album sales. (Studdard, who won that season, is sixth.)
• Season 5’s Chris Daughtry finished fourth but is third all-time in album sales.
• Season 5’s Kellie Pickler finished sixth but is eighth all-time in album sales.
So, of the Top 10 in sales figures for all “Idol” contestants, five are from North Carolina – Daughtry (third), Aiken (fourth), Barrino (fifth), McCreery (seventh) and Pickler (eighth). The two biggest sellers – by far – are Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood (more than 14.5 million albums sold) and Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson (more than 12.7 million albums sold.)
Johnson, 23, wasn’t the only North Carolinian in this year’s “Idol” final 10. Goldsboro’s Majesty Rose, 22, finished ninth.
Two others from North Carolina made the Top 10 in their seasons – Season 5’s Bucky Covington (finished eighth) and Season 7’s Anoop Desai (finished tied for sixth).
A favorite all season, Johnson defeated Jena Irene, 17, of Farmington Hills, Mich., in the finals.
Johnson, Irene and Rose will tour with the rest of this season’s Top 10 this summer. The “American Idol Live!” tour will be at the Durham Performing Arts Center on July 13.
As previous “Idol” winners have, Johnson released a debut single, “As Long As You Love Me,” before he won. His album will be released on Aug. 12.