American Idol: Will Caleb's 'R-Word' Dustup (or Last Week's Top 5 Twist) Factor Into Your Voting?

american-idol-caleb-johnson-calls-fans-retardsIt only takes one bad performance to derail an American Idol dream — but what if that face-plant involves something other than actual singing?

Season 13 finalist Caleb Johnson will stare down this ominous question come Wednesday night — in the wake of an ugly interview he gave to AfterBuzz TV’s Jason Ikeler following last week’s Top 5 results telecast.

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Asked if his opinion of social media had changed since being on the show, Caleb replied, “Yeah, it gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me. And I don’t, y’know, really enjoy having to see somebody tell me what song I need to sing. I think at this point in the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs that represent me in the best [way]; I don’t need 10,000 people saying, ‘You should sing this, you should sing that! Listen to me, listen to me!’ Fortunately, guys, I’m gonna listen to myself — whether you like it or not.” (Caleb also joked that he was looking forward to “the girls, the hookers, the cocaine…” if he makes it to the Top 3 and gets a traditional hometown visit.)

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After the video went viral over the weekend, Caleb took to his Facebook page with an apology — of sorts: “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!”

A few parts of Caleb’s apology don’t sit particularly well with this Idoloonie. For starters, does anyone really buy the idea that “wackos that send hundreds of hate messages a day” to Caleb are also passionately peppering him with song suggestions? Caleb’s original diatribe specificially took offense at the idea of viewers (AKA his fans) daring to weigh in on what tunes he covers on the show. Dude needs to remember, though, that he’s not Robert Plant — he’s a contestant on a reality singing competition, and he’s allowed to take the stage every week at the leisure of the very voters he’s dogging. We invest every Wednesday and Thursday night from January to May watching virtual unknowns get a chance at singing stardom — and part of the fun is dissecting and prognosticating about the decisions that each wannabe makes. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a passionate pepperer: See Exhibit No. 2,134.)

Secondly, is it crazy I expected a little more contrition from Caleb regarding his use of the R-word? It’s 2014, after all, and the memo about the unacceptability of that particular slur has reached pretty much every nook and cranny of the country — even the rock under which Caleb has been spending his time. His classic deflection — “Sorry if it offended anybody” — passes the blame back to those members of the public “uptight” enough to take offense, rather than a more direct, “I am sorry for using the word ‘retard’; it was offensive and stupid, and I won’t do it again.” Again, we’re talking about a written apology on Caleb’s Facebook wall — where he presumably had time to carefully choose his words.

Whether or not enough viewers have caught wind of Caleb’s controversy — and whether or not he offers an apology during Wednesday’s Top 4 performance show — remains to be seen. At the same time, though, his rivals Alex Preston and Jena Irene will also await the results of an unofficial viewer referendum on whether or not they’ll be punished for voting against a non-elimination week during last Thursday’s results show, resulting in the ouster of babyfaced teenager Sam Woolf. (Host Ryan Seacrest kept the voting anonymous, but Jena freely admitted her “No” vote, and Alex’s “No” was determined by process of elimination, in post-show interviews.)

While it seems somewhat absurd that viewers might withhold votes from the duo for playing competitively in a competition series, it would also be naive to pretend that “likability” isn’t a factor for Idol voters — that they don’t scrutinize every facial expression, gesture and casual comment made by contestants to determine whether they possess the correct balance of enthusiasm, gratefulness, humility and desire that have been the hallmark of almost every Idol champ. (For what it’s worth, I’d argue female contestants have been generally subjected to tougher standards than their male counterparts over 13 seasons.)

With judge Jennnifer Lopez registering shock, then sighing “I’m surprised — maybe that’s just me,” after learning that it wasn’t a unanimous vote to keep the Top 5 in tact for an extra week, it’s possible there could be some backlash against Jena and Alex. Then again, perhaps it’ll be counterbalanced by a newfound respect that folks like myself feel for the duo for playing a strategic game and placing real value on the Season 13 crown.

What do you think about Caleb’s interview imbroglio — as well as Jena and Alex’s “No” votes? Does likability factor into your voting? Will any of the aforementioned contestants’ decisions make you more or less likely to vote for them? And is it possible that Jessica Meuse got a great big gift from her three opponents? Take our polls below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Stormy says:

    The R word was insensitive, but i found his remarks about cocaine, hookers and alcohol equally juvenile. he probably thought it made him seem cool and edgy. It didn’t.

    • AlyB says:

      I agree. I stated this on another post but it’s most relavent here. I personally gravitate toward edgy, dark, sexy, cool over wholesome perkiness but he doesn’t fall into either of those categories. I can’t help but see him as kind of sloppy, careless and repulsive after this and more of a comedic caricature of a rock star than the real deal.

      • Héy Zeús says:

        And he’s just not “hot enough” to get a pass either.

        • MLdarst says:

          He kinda reminds me of a young Meatloaf! Good but sloppy & judging by his comments he may be headed in the same direction tho Meatloaf had a couple Killer songs

      • Tee says:

        I agree with you completely Aly. I was remarking the other day that he is a caricature (I’m not sure I used that exact word…but that is what I meant).

      • just saying says:

        He wants to be Jack Black. I officially want to register my vote that I think the whole “R” word controversy is juvenile in and of itself. It’s a word that long ago stopped having in meaning in the vernacular in regards to people with mental disabilities and meant “normal” (whatever that means) people who act as idiots. Do we need to retire the word stupid too? And idiot? I have had a discussion with a medical professional about this subject where I could see her point because of it’s clinical usage. But the slang is what most people have used it as for decades. I’m all for respecting other people, but not about being overly PC. What he said was dumb in terms of being unaware that we live in a hypersensitive society where everyone dissects every little thing you say, but it shouldn’t have anything to do with the competition or his career. But I, too, have a low opinion of the majority of Americans and their intelligence level so I won’t be surprised if it does.

        • The Other Leah says:

          I agree… as a mother with a child who has special needs (one of which is an intellectual disability.) They don’t even CALL it retardation anymore because of the stigma behind the word.The word to me doesn’t even recall a person with an intellectual disability. I was called a “retard” all through school by the kids who picked on me, and I’m comfortably in my 30s. This is nothing new.

          • Paris says:

            Not to mention that word of this is unlikely to reach anyone with developmental difficulties, so it’s actually their family who is offended. And his fans of course.

        • AlyB says:

          I’d say what he faces the highest level of repercussion from is insulting his fans. I do however, beg to differ on that word being part of the vernacular and therefore not highly charged. When a large group of people tell you straight up they find that incredibly offensive and rather than taking their word for it and just using another word, you raise the “you’re being hypersensitive” and zomg PC police defense, it’s you being insensitive not them being hypersensitive. Why insist on continuing to engage in something others find hurtful. There are other adjectives. It’s less about being PC than having a basic level of manners in public. If someone insists on hurling offensive slurs at people, they shouldn’t whine about hypersensitivity when called out on it.

          • Angela says:

            Exactly. I’m all for looking at context when it comes to offensive comments most of the time, because in some cases, that is a factor. And what offends one person won’t always offend another, either.
            But the bottom line is, in regards to this situation, Caleb was rude and he shouldn’t get so defensive about people being upset with him. As the article so perfectly noted, if a person say something, and it offends and upsets somebody, just apologize. I do not get why that is so hard for someone to do. Especially since, if they do that, people will respect that the person was big enough to admit they were wrong, and they’ll generally be much more willing to forgive and move on as a result. Everyone says dumb things sometimes. Knowing how to handle the fallout of doing so tells you a lot about them as a person. And when I hear someone whine about “PC” behavior all that tells me is that they’re mad they can’t say rude things anymore, in which case I say, “Too bad. Somehow I think you’ll be able to survive.”
            And I also definitely agree with the article about his attitude about himself. The guy needs to quit buying into his own hype and just focus on doing a good job on the show.

          • grandma Jane says:

            Really well said AlyB. Also agree that a REAL and sincere apology MAY go a long way towards stopping the fallout. ON air apology. Even then…. If enough people know, he may be toast.

        • Mary says:

          Sorry don’t agree even if it isn’t recognized as meaning someone with a disability it still is offensive. How many words are there in the English language all he could come up with is that. Like I taught my Son words can hurt choose them wisely. I don’t think it has anything to do with being hypersensitive or PC it is called being respectful of other people. Do I think he should be tar and feather no, but I am not giving him a free pass either. He is 24 years old and even his apology if that is what you call it he resorts to name calling. Really.

        • Lisa says:

          Even using your logic regarding the “R word”, it doesn’t leave any better taste in my mouth. He lumped all his fans together under the umbrella of “idiots” “stupid”. Because he lumped his whole band of fans together under that umbrella, in a sense that could also be taken as a prejudiced statement. He prejudged ALL his fans as being idiots. Even removing the “R word” from the equation does NOT make this right in any way. Then, trying to deflect instead of an ernest apology? Yep, great choice for an American Idol #sarcasm.

          • The Other Leah says:

            He didn’t lump me because I don’t tweet him or send messages to his Facebook page asking him to sing Meatloaf songs.

        • deedee says:

          I don’t think he wants to be Jack Black. He wants to be David Lee Roth or Steven Tyler – a bad boy of rock n roll. I just think he’s ridiculous. Caleb himself has admitted that he’s been “loud” his whole life, and people who are loud for the sake of being loud are not usually very careful with their choice of words.
          Personally, I’m not all that offended by “retard” in the same way I’m not offended by “moron”, which was also a clinical term, originally. What I am offended by is Caleb’s total lack of understanding of how to treat his fans. How much of a “retard” to you have to be to not get that these people who make song suggestions are on your side??? These are people who are invested in you – and you chastise them for it? That’s truly stupid.
          Not sure how many people will even know about this. If I didn’t read Mr. Slezak, I would never have known Caleb said these things in an interview. So, I don’t think this will hurt him.

        • Marilee says:

          His former audience and groups he hangs out with at bars and such probably use the “tough guy/douche language” and it’s no big deal to them. He was just being stupid. Even the interviewer laughed and didn’t even call him out. Sometimes people just say stupid things and don’t need to be crucified for it.

          • To all caleb fans. I think you will see differently if you watch this. Hometown visit full live show at The Emerald Lounge. its at WWW Fox Carolina. He takes ten minutes off in the middle of performing to sign autographs and doing it so much that one of the producers has to ask him to stop and get back to performing again. Good concert! at one point you can see out the window of the venue and hordes of people are outside because theres not enough room in the venue. So he has to play 2 different venues. After that you can watch channel 4 WWYF News clip that says American Idol producers say “its the craziest hometown visit we have ever seen.” Any way my point is that what he said, The R word and then people saying he doesnt care about his fans. BALONEY! Watch producers tell him 2 or 3 times to start playing music again because he is signing so many autographs. He absolutely loves his fans. The fans chose dazed and confused for him to sing wed and the judges chose “demons” by imagine dragons. Still no mention of what randy picked for him

          • to add to my other post below. The full concert is below the interview video in a smaller box and says full concert.

          • shoot sorry I meant the post above

          • I mean post “above” sorry!

        • karyn says:

          I agree that political correctness has run amok and it shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m more appalled by the stupidity of his making these comments and what they say about his ability to make a real career for himself. You can’t dis your fans and then acts shocked when they consider themselves dissed. How reasonable their reaction is doesn’t matter – he should know better. He did this weeks ago with his “old ladies” comment about women who like 80’s music and he skated then. This guy seriously needs to edit himself before he speaks if he ever wants to make it in the public eye.

        • wrcurtisjr says:

          Well said.

        • Razzy Berry says:

          So, the fact that people use the “N” word these days to say “hey buddy” means it’s OKAY for me to use that the next time I see a black friend approaching? I’d like to see YOU do that at a hiphop club somewhere in Detroit to prove your point that if a certain portion of society puts a second meaning to a word that was USED offensively before that, it’s then OKAY to spew it anytime you feel like it. Good luck at that club during your experiment–you’re gonna need it. That and a few reconstructive surgeries.

      • Lisa says:

        Wow, we’re in agreement. Except that’s how I always viewed him. He’s always been a persona. Both last season when he tried out, and this one. He tried one, it didn’t work, he tried another. This one got him further. I think the cocaine & hooker statement is a manifestation of the persona he’s using this year. The “rocker”, “Jack Black meets Meatloaf” persona. He has always been pretentious and that has kept me from voting for him. (last 2 weeks, he seemed to shed it a little, so he got some votes). But, his comments show me that the persona is still alive and kicking.

        His apology was a farce. First of all, he was backpedaling in an attempt to cover his ass. His original comments separated his calling people the “R word”, from his disdain about fans picking his songs (or anyone picking them for that matter). They are separated by the word “And”. That means what follows is in addition to what you previously stated. His apology on the other hand, is more of a deflection and an actual apology. Additionally, in his original statement, he did not use the “R word” in relation to song requests, but fans merely trying to talk to him. Huge difference. In his deflection, he really just tried to put a different spin on his original comments.

        Well, considering that the pretentiousness is still alive and well, I will be returning to not casting a single vote for him. Not specifically because of his comments, but more because of what it represents to me. That he is still pretending, and thus has not really determined who he really is. Hopefully, he’ll stop pretending someday, and his voice will actually come to mean something more.

        • Lisa says:

          Let me just clarify, I was in agreement with the comment that “just saying” made about him trying to be Jack Black. Not everything he/she said.

      • dman6015 says:

        Wow, what narcissism on here. Not “hot enough” to get a pass? So if he looks like the hunk of the month, then it’s OK to call someone “retarded”? What are you, 15?

      • Barb says:

        Oh brother like noone ever said anything like this before… Get a life move on Caleb is one of the top 2 and I am so excited that america got it right… So tired of people picking apart things that people say.. everyone has used that word in one way or another.

    • Flicker says:

      Great article, I agree 100%. And sorry, but I would not describe such comments (both the R word and the cocaine) as juvenile – juvenile is laughing when someone says vagina. These comments are disrespectful and derogatory, and show his lack of character in every way.

    • Josh says:

      He comes off terrible in just about EVERY question. If this guy thinks fugo can think he’ll have a career after this, he’s kidding himself.

    • Marilee says:

      Well he probably shouldn’t have used all that language, but he is a rocker and that is sometimes tough guy talk. And if it was so offensive, why did the interviewer laugh at it like it was funny instead of call him out on it? People are making it a bigger deal than it should be. Sometimes we all say stupid things and he shouldn’t be crucified for it.

    • Ann Wesbecher says:

      Calab is his own peson and it is his way or the highway. As a star he has few qualities that the majority of people would want to spend money to enjoy. When his public asks for a song that they might buy and want to see how he performs it and he trashes them it is the same as saying: “I am ME, and I on’t NEED or WANT your attention”. Therefore he doesn’t WANT or NEED the votes from the majority. And a apology with a flip of his discusting hair isn’t going to get the vote this weekend.

    • sandi says:

      Yeah, that bothered me too. What is the average age of his fan base

    • Roz says:

      Caleb is my choice to go home this week. I don’t think there is any other choice.

      • wrcurtisjr says:

        First of all, this is not about whether he said something ridiculous while talking to someone who led him into that answer, but about how well the young man can sing, and he blows everyone but Jena away when he is on stage. I for one will buy his album and even go see him concert, but as for saying something in reference to people who can also act a little juvenile themselves hey he made a mistake, he apologized, whether you like how he did it or not, and he made it to the top three. He should now make it to the top 2 after this coming week.

  2. He’s an idiot. His audience is giving him song requests because they want to hear him sing those songs, and he turns around and insult them?

    • Steph says:

      OK Slezak won’t point out the obvious so *I* will. With Caleb shooting himself in the foot and Jena & Alex possibly facing a backlash, this could only be good news for Jessica!!!!

      • Flicker says:

        Love your comment Steph!

      • JKR says:

        YES!!! Let’s hope. Because really, out of the ones left, I’d love for her to win!

      • Lisa says:

        This goes back to my original comments regarding the stunt that was pulled this past week. There will be no clean outcome, plain and simple. The votes are irreversibly tainted for the remainder of the season.

        • Julie Anderson says:

          I agree that it will cast a cloud of doubt as to whether or not the eventually winner truly earned it, because some will claim…yeah, but if Caleb hadn’t made that misstep then he would have won. I truly hope he does apologize on air. 1. It will draw even more attention to it. 2. He said it outside of the program; he should “clean it up” outside of the program.

          I think that Jena and Alex will face minimal repercussions, but it is interesting that more people are willing to overlook it for Jena than for Alex.

          • Julie Anderson says:

            Shoot! I meant I hope he does NOT apologize during the show.

          • Lynn says:

            I would guess because she was upfront about voting no, while Alex never technically admitted to it.

          • MAB says:

            I read on other sites where they were against Jena and not Alex because she expanded on what she said. She commented that it was just to save Sam and it has always been about Sam, first he was saved and then the twist. People were upset because she was a wildcard and wouldn’t even be here if she wasn’t saved by the judges.

          • Danny says:

            I don’t think the cloud of doubt will last very long. Last year during the season there was similar talk about cloud of doubt because it was rigged for the 5 girls. Once Candice won, she was a clear cut winner. No doubts remained.

      • Lynn says:

        But the poll on here indicates no backlash for either one. Less than 8 percent said they would vote against either Alex or Jena because of the no vote. One thing I do find curious. When the “twist” first came out, most of the comments here about the no votes were in support of the contestants who had the courage and integrity to keep the eliminations in line with the voting, so why would there be a backlash against a no vote? And most commenters here supported Jess when they thought she was a no vote for keeping things fair, why no backlash against the yes voters?

        • Lisa says:

          Because honestly, there should be no backlash for voting whichever way they did. That’s also why it was supposed to stay anonymous, so there would be no backlash resulting from it (ironic that Alex gets backlash for that). The way they each responded should not even be an issue, nor their reason why. This whole stupid twist is the real issue. It was blatant and it was attempted manipulation. The anger should be directed at American Idol, not the contestants, no matter which way they voted. Just by the way, Kudos to Jena for calling a spade a spade. It’s pretty obvious what AI’s intentions were. And kudos to the no votes. The contestants that voted no, weren’t pulled by the tide, but rather stood up for what they believed to be right. AND if everyone voted yes, the true intentions would never have been revealed.

      • Ben says:

        A backlash? Really? From who – Sam fans? You think Sam fans will vote Jessica?

        Honestly, I think most Idol fans are actually GLAD that Sam wasn’t saved yet again, and if anything, Alex and Jena might get a frontlash from fans who are glad they had the guts to stand up and say no to the dumb twist.

        • Ben says:

          Oh, and I read the poll – more people say they are MORE likely to vote Jena and Alex than LESS likely to, which just goes to prove the point, really.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, I don’t get that, either. Speaking for myself, if I were a budding musician on a show like this, or heck, if I were a world-famous professional musician, I dunno, I’d be thrilled to read suggestions from fans about songs they’d want to hear me sing. Especially if the songs were out of left field or something-it’d be a fun chance to expand one’s range that way.

      • Indeed. There are more professional ways of responding to people. “Thanks for the suggestion, but I have an idea of where I want to go/the path I want to follow/the strategy I’m using, and your suggestion – which is much appreciated – just doesn’t fit that vision. But maybe in the future, who knows!”. Or something like that.

      • Lisa says:

        The interesting thing is that Caleb didn’t just target fans for choosing songs for him. In essence anyone suggesting songs for him is targeted. So, in essence, he also dissed the whole American Idol process, because in one form or another, they do have a hand in picking his songs and probably will in the future also.

      • The Other Leah says:

        Caleb’s choice of words was very unfortunate, however he is right about one thing, the song choices that people suggest are terrible. I would get sick of it too if I got hundreds of messages from people wanting me to sing Meatloaf songs.

        • becca says:

          I just want to say and let everyone hear this! I realize it was a terrible thing he said but I have been to american idols facebook, every one of michael slezaks places here on the internet, chat places and this is starting to get really ugly, like bullying. I actually feel sorry for him now. You would not believe all the ugliness. It was one bad R word. But the backlash is horrifying. If you have been to all of the “cites” that are talking about this, people are no better with their name calling and are doing the exact same thing. Im really sad. And I was really mad at him 3 days ago. I feel sorry for him to face America tonight with all of this hate and am actually worried. No one wants to be hated by everyone. I dont agree with bullying and it is starting to feel that way. He is young. I have a son and if he went to school and called someone a R**** I would be so, so, mad, but I would be so devastated if he was bullied over it. I even brought this up to my son last night and we talked about it. He said he has used that word but not meaning it against any actual person. And I know I have too. My son is out of high school now and he surprises me how smart he is sometimes. Its not a good word but neither is embocile, dork, dimrod, jacka**, moron but you cant tell me you have never used a word like that , and also not really meaning it towards anyone. I just feel sorry now. Go look around at all the hate. It is building and its horrible. I would not want to be him tonight. I think that alone is enough punishment. Thank You for hearing me out. This is spiraling out of control.

          • becca says:

            I was mad for 4 days at caleb but Im not going to join in on the ugliness. Try to imagine how it would feel to have thousands (or More) of people hating on you, and bashing you. Hes not a murderer, not george zimmerman or jodi arias for god sakes. He said a word he should not have, thats all! And by the way, I have an autistic neice and nephew. And i guess shakira gets a pass for saying to her gay contestant, “you represent the minority” and that is ok to say to someone who is gay? She said that to kristen merland. No bashing for that though WOW

          • becca says:

            I should have put this all in one post. Im sorry, But I thought of one more thing.What about demographics? It is different everywhere. I dont know much about ashville north carolina. is it smaller? or a big city? The way people talk and act is different in areas of the US. In the south people can tend to be a little more lose lipped. In New York and inner city schools they teach ebonics. ( my dad flipped out about this because he was a high school teacher here in Oregon) where we are have to learn proper english over here! Its not an excuse for caleb but it is very different in different regions. Look how they act on Duck Dynasty (which I think is hilarious) but some people think they are crude. Words may be used differently in different areas and some people dont care and some people do. I am also taking this into consideration. Some regions are probabaly much slower catching up to our “politically correct ” world.

          • MAB says:

            Becca, I am sorry you are struggling so much with this. It is almost like you are taking it personal. You are concentrating on him saying an inappropriate word but it is more than that it is an entire attitude that he presented. He could have called his fans almost anything else and it would have presented the same thing. Disrespect for the people that put you were you are and why, because they tweeted you song request. I am not for name calling back because two wrongs don’t make a right but someone who has this attitude does not deserve to win. It’s a shame that people are so mean about it but lots of them are lashing back in hurt some just for the drama of it. Regardless it does not change what he did and the hurt he caused his well meaning fans. I would not call him a name back but I would not vote for him. Period the end.

    • Pk says:

      Song choice for Caleb – “American Idiot”. Tweet it! Lol

  3. anibundel says:

    Alex should be counting his lucky stars Caleb decided to voluntarily eat a foot sandwich this week. Jena’s persona could handle her “no” vote. She’s clearly scrappy, and the fact that no one went with her suggestions the week of “Contestants Choose for Each Other” suggests she’s playing the game hard. Alex on the other hand, was doing the Phillip Phillips thing “Oh, hey, I’m just this guy, you know. I just showed up, and hey, I’m winning. No biggie.” Of course, that’s nonsense–you don’t make it this far without playing–but it showed the lie up. Hence why he was the one who didn’t want to admit to his no vote, and he was the one who took to twitter to do damage control right away as soon as it came out. After all, this could have very well given Caleb the edge into the Top Two over him.

    Yeah, no worries about that now.If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major scramble lest Caleb go home this week and Jessica end up in the Final Three-a scenario I think we can all agree the producers do not want. (Why? I have no idea. It blows my mind that they have achieved gender parity in the Top Four for the first time in years–YEARS! NIGEL WOULD HAVE KILLED FOR THIS!–and it’s in spite of themselves.)

    • Uh they had gender parity in season 10 (Scotty, James, Haley, Lauren) and 11 (Phillip, Joshua, Hollie, Jessica)

      • The Superficial Man says:

        ah yes- great to see the name “Hollie Cavanagh” in a TVLine post again ! I always felt she was underrated and Hollie is open of my favorite Idols of all time. For me, her 4th place finish in 2012 was a kind of moral victory- Hollie was not a judge’s favorite early on but in the words of Michael Slezak himself ( he said it on Idolloonies I believe ) “I don’t believe I have ever seen a contestant improve so much, so quickly and so late in the game “. Hollie managed to outlast in succession Colton, Elise and Skylar to reach Top 4. I always loved the sound of her singing AND speaking voice ( peh-fect !! ) and miss seeing her lithsome petite attractive self on the stage. ( I always fall for the underdog females- Hollie, Siobhan, Didi, Brooke, Jessica etc….. )

  4. Emma says:

    I don’t know if it will hurt Caleb. It depends on how may people who cast votes actually are aware of and saw that interview. If he apologizes on the show it just draws more attention to the video so he may not want to do that. But I agree that his facebook post doesn’t seem like enough of an apology.

    • Emma says:

      *how maNy people

    • Héy Zeús says:

      My money says Idol will totally ignore this dust-up and act like “business as usual”

    • Idolhead Ed says:

      My thought is that if Caleb is smart he will say nothing about the incident at all. The truth is the web readers are a minuscule percentage of the actual viewers. So by apologizing on air, those who didn’t know will scramble to find out more and then real problems ensue. It could be as simple as just not voting for him this week.

      My feeling about Alex and Jena however are different. I will give giant kudos to Jena for being ass kicking enough to come out and not hide. Alex on the other hand I feel was a bit more cover my ass. It’s like getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar. That in itself is not something that will win respect. It’s actually kind of weaselly. .

      On the other hand Jess and Sam voting yes kind of shows they feared for their Idol life. People who play with scared money never win. So in the short and long run I think Jena comes out the best.But we will see what we will see. I know this will be the best week of the season for all four.. . .

  5. True, it’s stupid to alienate his fans. But I see the more ethical problem as this: Caleb has shown insensitivity to the issue of people with disabilities. I work closely in an organization that includes mothers of children living with Down’s Syndrome. These kids are great people and very capable. The “R” word demonstrates negative attitudes towards those who have cognition problems (for whatever reason). If Caleb wants fame, he’s going to need to learn some tact, diplomacy and sensitivity. He had a chance following his faux pas to learn more about the negative connotations of the “R” word, to show some contrition, and then to use his platform to educate others about the effect that word has in the Down’s community and beyond, and then to lead by example by eradicating that word from his vocabulary. He blew it. I had been voting for him (as my 3rd favorite), but now he’s getting zero votes from me.

    • S. says:

      Use of the R word is inappropriate but he wasn’t even referencing people with disabilities. I’ll guarantee you the real crime is he wasn’t thinking about people with Down Syndrome or anybody else with a disability at all—THAT was the real problem. He wasn’t even thinking about them. He doesn’t need to be told they’re great people. He needs to be told to think more about the words he uses. His real problem here isn’t anybody with disabilities and it’s not fans offering suggestions, it’s the people being nasty on the internet. Welcome to celebrity, Caleb. You should’ve expected that but I guess when it’s directed at you, it hits home more. Take the high road and give your vocabulary a look to make sure you’re saying what you mean and not unintentionally hurting someone.

      • Fern says:

        Doesn’t matter – the word is incredibly disrespectful no matter who it is aimed at. I would never vote for someone who would use it as an insult.

  6. Héy Zeús says:

    As tasteless, arrogant and ignorant as Caleb’s comments were, I just dont think his fan base cares enough. Fans his age USE that word, as well as “gay” to mean as an insult. And since they are his fans, it would take something as severe as murder to sway them. They will make excuses. They will spin it, and support him even more. He will go home… AS a final three contestant where he can “enjoy” the two things he said he would in that same interview.

    • BabyFirefly says:

      I am not condoning Caleb’s use of the word retard, but I understand the casual use of it. I live in an area where it is/was used frequently, and I am constantly pointing out to people that it is inappropriate. Most people are shocked at being called out on a term they have used their entire lives, and some refuse to give it up. It’s those people – the ones who are made aware it’s derogatory and hurtful, and continue using it – that I have a problem with. Everyone gets one buy from me, before I judge them.

      • Héy Zeús says:

        I hear ya BabyFirefly, but I seriously doubt its his first time using the word. He’s what 22 years old? Im sure someone has said, “Dude, thats not cool.”, and Im guessing his reply is like, “Mehhh”.

        • BabyFirefly says:

          You are probably right, but I hope not. I’m shocked someone who seems as savvy to this entire process as Caleb has made such a bone headed move. It makes me wonder if/hope it was an innocent slip of the tongue.

          • Héy Zeús says:

            Well, it might be “slip of the tongue” (because he got way too comfortable there and forgot WHERE he was and WHO could see this), but because he used it, something tells me he has used it in conversations before (like with his buddies). But still, he botched the apology too. Doesnt Idol give these guys “handlers” and PR people??? I think they should.

          • Lisa says:

            Context of his comments… His fans are idiots according to him. That’s the issue that fans will really hurt him. No matter what word he used, the context is the one thing that won’t change.

        • Melanie says:

          I was 15 when someone told me it was inappropriate to use that word. It took me a couple of months to stop. But at his age, he should have learned proper respect when someone tells him that a word he uses is insensitive.

      • Angela says:

        Sadly, this is quite true. If people are used to speaking a certain way, they could get all the memos in the world that what they’re saying is wrong and offensive, and yet they will only dig in their heels even more. My mom works with someone who freely tosses the word “colored” around. In 2014.

  7. Name This Tune says:

    During the entire history of rockers, there’s been more than one meathead. That’s part of the job.
    We know why he said it. Do you really think he wanted to sing Don’t Want To Miss A Thing? He was just more frank about it, but no one in their right mind wants to go there.

    • anibundel says:

      I’m sure the fans suggested more than three songs. He’s laying the blame at the wrong feet if he thinks the fans had anything to do with that. That’s the producers manipulating things so he has to sing that.

      • Name This Tune says:

        And what were the other choices?

        I think he’s right in saying he knows who he is as an artist. But the name of the game on this show is cheesy themes. This was a cheesy theme.

    • Héy Zeús says:

      “Why he said it” – Ummmm, because he’s annoyed at fans requesting he cover a song? One can be “franK” without being insulting to his own fanbase and without offending a section of the population.

  8. Blinged Up says:

    The whole interview contained way too much arrogance for me, but I’ve felt that for most of the season from Caleb. LOL at your statement that he’s not Robert Plant — exactly! More like Biff from Back to The Future?

    • BabyFirefly says:

      LOL, I was taking a sip of coffee when I read the Biff comment, now my desk is covered in coffee. That’s hysterical.

  9. Jake says:

    I won’t be voting for Jena — she is so worried of the prospect of two people leaving yet she has never been in the bottom 2

    • Kaba says:

      Jena has definitely been in the bottom 2 before.

      • Wendall says:

        She was in the bottom 2 I believe the first week, but since the judges have been coddling and babying her ever since then she hasn’t been.

      • Idolhead Ed says:

        Jena has never been in the bottom 2. She was in the bottom 3 top 12 week. She was the first one sent to safety. Not to nit pick. But after she went to the bottom the next week we got arguably the best performance of the season in “Decode”. . .

        • JayNC says:

          Being sent to safety first when you are in the bottom 3 doesn’t mean you had more votes than the other two. They rarely reveal that, so for all we know Jena WAS in the bottom 2 that week.

    • There’s nothing wrong to want the way America voted to stay intact. I was happy that 2 of the 5 contestants were brave enough to say suck it to the producers.

    • Lisa says:

      It’s a shame that you’re automatically assuming that her reason for saying no was that shallow. From everything I’ve seen, both Alex & Jena both felt it was wrong to spring that on them. To me, that shows strength of character. Instead of being swallowed up in a sea of peer pressure, they stood up for themselves. We try to teach our kids everyday not to just “follow the crowd”. They actually stood for that, and we should censure them for it? I don’t think so.

    • Idolhead Ed says:

      Jake you wouldn’t be voting for Jena anyway so don’t lay that bull on us.

      • Ben says:

        Completely right. If people are suggesting they won’t vote for someone based on the way they voted last results show, I’m willing to bet that 99.9% of those people already would not have voted that way.

    • Trouty Mouth says:

      I wouldn’t vote for Jena anyway. The tone of her voice irritates me, as does her personality (“OMG! It’s! JEEEE-NA!!!!!!!”)

  10. Kim R says:

    My oldest brother is mentally challenged. I am not looking to be offended but the use of the R word is offensive. Caleb should have known better. Just as disappointing is his obvious arrogance toward his fans. He can call it what he will to try and dig himself out of the hole he jumped into but you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube or unring the bell. He said what he said. Regardless of how good his voice may or may not be, I have to say that his comments in that interview would take my vote from him…….if he had it.

  11. Blank slate says:

    Enough already with Caleb’s comment. Show me a person on this planet who hasn’t used a stupid term without thinking it through and putting words through an internal editor.

    • Héy Zeús says:

      And so here is a Caleb-Excuse Maker. Ok, we ALL have F-ed up from time to time, but IF I m being interviewed ON CAMERA, and I am in a TV show contest that depends on viewer votes, I just might want to watch my “p’s and q’s”. He is arrogant. And he might pay the price for it (I doubt it though). AND he had an opportunity to make ammends with a written apology and he even botched THAT up! TWO strikes! One more and buh bye now

    • syb says:

      So every sin gets a pass because everyone sins? I am no angel, I’ve done things I regret. There are consequences. The chance to win a popularity contest might be one of those consequences. If that happens, then Caleb should take it like a man and understand he blew it. Sometimes life is a tightrope. We learn from the consequences more than the mistakes unfortunately.

    • BabyFirefly says:

      I agree with you – but the people who have made those blunders also have to face real life consequences. There is a big difference between making a remark to your friends, and saying something in public. I am in HR, and I can attest to the fact that if you turn off your internal editor, you can and will be held accountable for your words.

      • S. says:

        Now that right there’s a fair point to make. People get upset and there are consequences to stuff celebs say. I’m frankly a little confused how he even thought it was a good idea to blurt that out. Did he think even fake humility was a bad idea for a rocker? Maybe he’s buying into some perception of an image. Daughtry and Cook need to have a word. Caleb’s not a bad guy but he is really gonna wreck his career if he’s getting this over the top and jaded before he even finishes the competition. Who does he think is gonna buy his albums if they feel insulted? He’s not arrogant to say he doesn’t need people tweeting song suggestions. That’s no less true than saying Jena and Alex are not being bad people for wanting to let the vote stand. It’s simply fact that Caleb doesn’t need anybody but himself weighing in, and we just want to think we have a say. It’s PR, Caleb, learn about it. You trick people into thinking you care (or maybe actually care, but we have no idea who really does in that group). Many an America’s Sweetheart has done the same and grumbled behind the scenes. Pretend you love fan opinion and keep it to yourself if you don’t.

    • AlyB says:

      Sure but the vast majority don’t throw insults at the very people they need to help them accomplish a goal. The ones that do have to live with the consequences. This wasn’t some private, off the cuff remark that went public. There would have been fallout even in that scenario. But he said this in an interview. If the fans he insulted and others he offended want to continue to vote for him then so be it but I’m sure there are those that will basically just vote for someone else or sit it out.

    • Angela says:

      Yep, we’ve all said stupid things. No argument there.
      But most of us have also been mature enough to properly apologize afterward if we upset somebody in the process.

    • Jill Moya says:

      Stupid term? That idiot said many stupid terms! He needs to go! He’s a stuck up jerk!

    • Luke says:

      Big difference. When you are saying things into a microphone and in front of a camera – when you are trying to increase a following – if your mind doesn’t edit your mouth – you are not ready to be a celebrity or an artist.

  12. Deann says:

    One of the things I have notice about the winners of Idol over the years is for the most part a lack of arrogance. This season, two of the four seem a little too taken with themselves – Caleb and Jena. Caleb has from the beginning acted as though he is too wonderful for plain folks so his comments didn’t really surprise me. Jena, who is still whining about the mispronunciation of her name, also seems really high on herself. I attribute their arrogance to immaturity, but depending on the forgiveness of the voters they may be getting a life lesson this week. And not for nothing, if Miss Thing is so concerned about her name, throw another e in there and help people out!

    • spfan22 says:

      That is the most ridiculous thing. Yes, change your name to suit people’s perception of how it should be spelled. That’s not arrogance, arrogance was the chick trying out for idol in a bikini. I don’t understand that people need to see these contestants have a “deer in headlights” look about them to be deemed likable. Rock on Jena, I think her confidence is a great asset for young women everywhere to look to as a role model.

    • Héy Zeús says:

      LOL. I STILL read her name AS “Jenna” and not “Gina”. Hey, but its not her fault she was named like that (Try living with a name like “Jesus”). Yeah, she’s a lil cocky but I see her as harmless (so far).
      What gets me angry is these people that go into the Idol Auditions and have already “changed” their name to just their first name or a totally different name. We’ve had a few of those.
      And also “Music Box”… WHO changes their name to Music Box!? (on The Voice)

      • Tee says:

        Well, that is exactly what Jena Irene did as soon as she got to Hollywood. She doesn’t use her surname just as Lauren Alaina did not and she is already seeing her single name in lights.

      • Mikko says:

        I just recently watched Bob Dylan interview. Bod Dylan’s birth name was Robert Zimmerman, but he changed his surename to Dylan. His comments about that:
        “It’s a free country, you can change your name, if you will. I kind of felt I had been born with the wrong name, and Dylan was the right one, it happens.”
        It would be strange, if changing one’s name would be forbidden, wouldn’t it? Wheather it is annoying or not, it depends.
        If you will change it to something really strange, it can be annoying.
        Or if you are an unlikeable person, people may find everyhting that you will do annoying.
        On the contrary, if you are a very likeable person, people may accept nearly everything, that you will do, without critisizism, maybe even applauding to you, digging and loving your name changes etc.

      • Mikko says:

        Also, I think, that it is a right thing from Jena to tell to people, how her name is pronounced. I am 6 feet 7 inches tall, and it is not my fault, that is how I am. Because of that, I have had to answer like 10 000 times to the questions, like: ” How tall are you? Do you play basketball?” in the banks, in the shops, you name it.
        And I have patiently answered, those answers are like my everyday mantra I do not want to get bored with, because that is me.
        Jena’s mantra is: “Je-na. It is Je-na.”

    • Lex says:

      Jena definitely has a high opinion herself. She comes from a wealthy home and has probably been told all her life how perfect she is, then comes on Idol and hears more of the same, so it’s bound to go to a teenage girl’s head. Now the size of her ego matches the size of her schnoz and mouth.

      • my krav is bettah says:

        Ugly hateful person you are. This is 17 year old that started from the beginning like the rest of them. Nobody handed her anything…she has done nothing but train for this moment since the age of 12. What have you done? Anything?

      • LynnL says:

        Now I will be doubly happy when Jena wins, thinking how pissed off you will be. Because you cancelled any “points” you were making when you insulted a young lady for her looks. So weary of people like you.

    • syb says:

      So is your name pronounced DEEN or De Ann?

      • Deann says:

        I have been called both since childhood and I do not recall ever correcting anyone. As my grandmother used to say – I don’t care what they call me as long as they call me for dinner.

    • Lisa says:

      There’s a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. Caleb is arrogant whereas Jena is confident.

  13. Chablis says:

    It’s a derogatory term. It trivializes an awesome group of people. If Caleb had used the “N” word the shock and condemnation would be heard all over the media. Use of R word should be condemned just as equally.

  14. Carrie says:

    This is not the first time that Caleb has had to apologize, though the bad joke about peanut allergies was just dumb and this one reeks of arrogance, ignorance and lack of self awareness. Personally I don’t think he is all that musically gifted – he does a very good rock karoake and that’s about it. Alex and Jena were being competitive on a competition show – totally fine by me and probably for Sam as well, who would just have been delaying the inevitable. Would not be suprised to see Caleb exit this week.

    • Carrie says:

      And one more note – rockers on Idol have not taken the crown, other than the exceptional David Cook who succeeded because of his originality (or at least the use of more inspired cover versions of songs), his demeanor and his vulnerability and sensitivity. Caleb is no Cookie, he is no Chris Daughtry, he is no Adam Lambert – he is not even a Bo Bice or Constantine Maroulis. Am I leaving anyone out?

      • Meme says:

        I think you covered it well.

      • AlyB says:

        James Durbin. I loved him and would have been in Idol heaven with a James vs Haley finale. He was immensely talented and had had his hard knocks but was humble, respectful and seemed like a genuinely nice person.

        • Carrie says:

          Good catch. Durbin was a sweetheart and had some personal challenges he had to overcome which made him even more endearing.

  15. Linda says:

    What Caleb said, and how Alex and Jena (or Jessica for that matter) voted, is going to have almost no real impact on the voting this next week. It’ll be business as usual with them steamrolling over Jess, then blasting Caleb Top 3 week and then finally getting the Alex vs. Jena finale they want. They always seem to get their way.

  16. MAB says:

    Thank you Michael for this article. I think you best covered it than any of the other bloggers. I really do think likability has a lot to do with how the public votes. Idol allows you to get the know the contestants. They become important to us and we grow to really care about them. What Caleb did was wrong and there is no way to believe otherwise. Some can say he was frustrated and we need to give him slack. It all the contestants are stressed and all the contestants of all the previous seasons were stressed yet this has never happened before. It is up to the fans on whether they vote for him or not but I for one hope he does not win. It would not be good for idol if he did because this will be not die and this story will continue to pop up. It will be a nail in the Idol coffin. I have seen tweets where people are saying that they will not watch anymore because of him. Can you imagine if he wins. Yes what Caleb did was a mistake but it was a big mistake and we are held accountable for our mistakes.
    As far as Alex and Jena I have no animosity towards them for what they did. If you hear the interviews from the other contestants, they all agreed with the no answer, even Sam who was eliminated. I also do think that all this controversy will help Jessica because she is the only one left not involved in any of this drama.

    • becca says:

      MAB Hi Im replying back from when you answered mine earlier. The bullying and name calling is mainly on the american idol facebook page . Im in agreement that people can be mad and not vote for him. Everyone can make their own decision on who to vote for, of course. But Its really getting out of hand. People on that facebook page are even calling each other the R word and other horrible words. Its digusting and they are so full of hate. Thank You for taking the time to respond. Lets hope the show tonight is good

  17. syb says:

    I think Caleb’s true blue fans will mostly support him especially if he apologizes again on national tv. Of course the risk of a second apology is that some viewers who didn’t know of the comments will learn about them for the first time and he’ll offend a whole crop of casual viewers who might have voted for him. I do know some supporters of his who have said he will not get any more votes, and they too cite in part the fact that his facebook apology was wanting in the sincere remorse department. What remains to be seen is how much of Caleb’s support comes from the do or die contingent, and also how many people even know or care about this.
    As far as Jena and Alex, it seems to me that most people I know who follow the show don’t see anything wrong with the no votes. I think Alex is the more likely to be affected just because Sam’s style was similar and so he would have been the natural recipient of Sam’s votes, but for the likelihood that it is primarily Sam voters who would be upset about the “no.” On the other hand, Jena is the one who has recently expounded on her no vote, and has made a comment that this season it is all about Sam, Sam for the save and now this twist that would have again saved Sam. That might not go down too well either.
    So far, only Jess has managed to avoid controversy this week. How about that? LOL. Maybe keeping her foot out of it will propel her to top 3!

    • becca says:

      Randy Jackson was on “the view” yesterday and the ladies asked him who he thought of predictions of a winner. He said that caleb and jena are “the ones” the frontrunners” and had best performances. Nothing was said about calebs remarks. So I dont think its widely known because I know if whoopie goldberg or any of those ladies knew about calebs remarks they would have “called out” randy on it. And surprisingly randy didnt mention one word about it. I watched this online today because I missed it yesterday on tv and could not find it “on Demand”.

      • becca says:

        So my point is, Randy did not say one word about caleb and the R word “on the view” and it aired yesterday may 6. And then said caleb was one of the frontrunners with jena. So maybe the whole thing is being swept under the rug! Or out of sight out of mind? LOL We will find out tonight!

  18. Timmah says:

    What Caleb said was pretty tame compared to say, a Jay Z lyric.

    • Héy Zeús says:

      Jay Z is a contestant on Idol!? I missed that one! AND Caleb is on the same superstar status platform AS Jay Z!? Daaaiiiiiimn!… No, sorry but your agument doesnt work.

      • Timmah says:

        The point is that the music industry doesn’t care about being politically correct. They only care about selling records.

        • GuitarBlue says:

          “The point is that the music industry doesn’t care about being politically correct. They only care about selling records.””

          True, those who listen to the lyrics in some of the hard-rock songs and rap today – big sellers, and you see them sometimes censored for regular youtube, but our teen kids are listening to that stuff and are not shocked by most things that the parents and grandparents are. Check-out some of Nikki Minaj’s “explicit videos” , and they don’t go near as far as some of the other rap videos in language.

        • syb says:

          The point is, he’s not a big shot in the music industry. He’s a contestant on a TV popularity contest.

          • Timmah says:

            I get the feeling though that Caleb doesn’t care about winning a popularity contestant. He just wants to be more well known so he can make a living doing his music, which has already been accomplished by getting this far. Trying to please everyone isn’t the road to success anyway.

          • Lisa says:

            He’s arrogant, and is probably eating it up that people are talking about him, regardless of the fact that it’s negative.

      • S. says:

        Wow you really don’t get analogies, do you buddy. If Jay Z uses language people are offended by but it can lead to a #1 album, ironic how people now respond to Caleb. People will spend money on Jay Z and deny Caleb votes? It’s called hypocrisy. And what does it matter what “level” Caleb is on vs. Jay Z? Someone is a superstar so they get to say these words but someone who isn’t can’t? So you’re also a snob of some sort? Bah humbug. I bet the people supposedly less likely to vote for Caleb would’ve peeled off after top 3 anyway. He wasn’t your top vote getter in terms of preference as it is. You’re just more likely to not vote for him this week, but you wouldn’t have voted for him next time anyway. Be honest. People already putting him on top are gonna keep doing it, I bet. I didn’t think he was the one most likely to win anyway, so it’s hardly a shock if he goes home this week or next. He needs a band. As far as solo artists go, Jena or Alex is most likely to take it.

        • syb says:

          He can say whatever he wants. People who watch the show and vote can decide whether or not he’ll get their votes. I don’t understand why it is so lost on people that the freedom to say what you like and believe what you like goes both ways. You want to call your fans retards? You’re free to do so. If your fans don’t like it, aren’t they free to decide not to be your fan anymore?
          Your analogy doesn’t work because what Jay Z says is in a different contest and a different arena. Caleb is essentially running for election. Jay Z already has the fans he needs to be a rich and successful recording artist.
          Both Caleb and Jay Z can say the exact same thing without being prosecuted. So to that extent they’re equally free. It’s likely to have more adverse consequences for one than the other in light of their station in life and the circumstances in which the statements are made.

        • Timmah says:

          Agreed, I don’t get the logic of something being not offensive if you’re a big star but offensive if you’re a contestant on a TV show.

          • syb says:

            You’re looking at it the wrong way. This has nothing to do with “logic.” It has to do with political savvy. Jay Z doesn’t need to prove himself–he’s already won the election–he’s got the credibility that Caleb can only hope to have. Caleb is an amateur trying to win votes on a TV show whose viewership skews primarily aging soccer mom. There is a different checklist used to judge them, and different judges casting the “votes” for that matter.

        • tealeaves says:

          It is not hypocrisy if one person buys a Jay Z album and a different person decides to not vote for Caleb. That’s not the definition of hypocrisy. Even if one individual did both of those things, it would not necessarily be hypocrisy. It would depend on their reasoning for each.

  19. jr. says:

    Didn’t know what the R word was, until I read your article. Yea. He doesn’t seem nice.

  20. HookerRetardonCocaine says:

    Never watched this show before but I’ll be watching this week for sure and voting a gazillion times for that Caleb dude!

  21. Caroline says:

    I thought JLo said, “I’m surprised! Oh, they didn’t ask me.” Because I had a few rude things to say to my television, agreeing with her second statement.

  22. Jana says:

    I like Alex and Jena even more for having the sense and intelligence to vote No. Everyone should know by now that when there’s a freebie week and a double elimination the next, it makes a shock elimination of someone that should definitely be staying more likely. I’m far more disappointed in the 3 that voted Yes.

  23. Babybop says:

    I don’t think it’s the word thing that will affect him (though I agree that word should not be used). I think it’s the other comments that will take him down. Honestly, saying that you hate when your fans send song ideas to you is ridiculous. They want to hear you sing these songs because they like you, take it as a compliment. He alienated his fans – and I will not be surprised if that reflects in his voting.

  24. The Other Leah says:

    First of all, I would like to qualify my response by mentioning that I am the parent of a child with mental retardation (now known as an “Intellectual Disability”) and moderate autism.

    I did not take Caleb’s comments personally.

    I actually saw an awkward nervousness and immaturity, It was almost as if he has his own problems with socialization, relating to others. I saw person who isn’t thinking through the consequences of his words. It was of someone who is not experienced in speaking off the cuff. I detected a slight hint of resentment in his tone of voice, who lacks the tact to hide his feelings to stay diplomatic.

    If this is the case, then maybe he’s not ready to be in this position. Maybe Caleb has his own mental problems that he needs to work through.

    • Lisa says:

      Regardless of his word choice, which I don’t see as the real issue, Caleb has given many interviews in the past. He knows how to interview pretty well from what I’ve seen. Check You tube. In this most recent interview however, he struck me as a person whose ego has gone through the roof, and now he’s just an arrogant jackass.

    • Regina says:

      “First of all, I would like to qualify my response by mentioning that I am the parent of a child with mental retardation (now known as an “Intellectual Disability”) and moderate autism.
      I did not take Caleb’s comments personally.”

      Because they don’t affect YOU. Just because you are an “autism mom” doesn’t mean you get to decide what’s offensive and what isn’t. Get over yourself.

      • The Other Leah says:

        Wow! Get over myself? I think I have a right to an opinion here.
        “Autism mom”… I find THAT very offensive.

  25. GuitarBlue says:

    1. I have not voted for Caleb in the past anyway, so no difference in terms of my voting. 2.Asked several people who come by to watch the show what they thought of the R comment, —– most heard nothing about it because they don’t follow social media on the show, just watch on Wed. Now, with softball, baseball, tennis and golf competitions getting started, fewer people will be around on Wed. night.

    3. odds-makers don’t seem to make a factor of it – Caleb & Jena are both somewhere around 2.2 to 1 to win, in other words, laying odds that either Caleb or Jena is going to win. Alex is around 4 1/2 to 1, possible to win but less likely. Jessica is somewhere around 20 to 1, This is not my opinion, just interpolating the odds.

  26. Silverfangs says:

    Caleb has a history of not being careful with what he said. Besides this one, there was that peanut allergy joke for which he had to apologize on air the next day. I actually found that one more offensive because his idea of joking could be life threatening (upon hearing that, I immediately thought there could some impressionable kids somewhere who think that it’s a cool idea to do it on their PA friends).

  27. fanology says:

    Here’s the thing for me… Not to discount his insensitivity with the ‘r’ word at all, but I think the fact that the people he was insulting with his word vomit WERE his true blue core fans is just as problematic. I could tell from the moment he finished that first song last Tuesday that he was pissed with “America,” and for him to continue with his little pity party shows an immaturity and lack of savvy — who do you think is voting for you, you… oh wait, I almost said a bad word, but I’m not a… you get the point. (Please accept my humblest apologies if my attempt to mock him wasn’t clear, as I do not condone what he said, or what I almost said. Gosh, it’s a black hole of foot-in-mouth.)

    In any event, I think he’s rude, and callous, and as people have pointed out, this isn’t the first time he’s been a bit of a jackass (no offense to jackasses, which are sturdy and valuable animals). But I kind-of hope this story has reached enough of his fans to cause him some problems, because while he may be a better singer/performer than Alex or Jess, I’d rather see Slapout, AL in the final three than “hookers and cocaine.”

  28. MB says:

    PC stuff aside, when he remarked about making old ladies cry and retards making song requests, my visceral reaction was one of hurt feelings. Fortunately, I’m not invested enough to have that last more than a 1/2 sec, lol, but still it killed any voting I might have done for Caleb. Idol told us to make requests. He hopefully will smarten up media-wise. I assume he has heard of Paula Deen?

  29. Wendall says:

    I am more offended by Jena and Alex’s lame, whiny, pandering attempts at damage control after voting no than by anything out of Caleb’s mouth. Alex proved to be a rather spineless slithering away from Sam after the vote was revealed, not admitting in interviews how he voted and then running to twitter to suck up to Sam’s fans hoping to cultivate their vote right after he was outed. Jena will say this and that and dance around each time and finally just admit the real truth: she knew she wasn’t gone and wanted someone else to. There is nothing wrong with that so why not just own up what you did and drop the act?

    • Mary says:

      I believe she did owned up to it, did you see the interview? How you can compare voting no to using the R word as more offended is beyond me.

    • Lisa says:

      What part of “it was supposed to be anonymous” don’t you understand. Do you have inside knowledge that the others told Alex before he was interviewed that they disclosed how they voted? If you do, please share. If not, you really shouldn’t be promoting that he withheld the information because he’s spineless. There is such a thing as someone trying to maintain the integrity of an anonymous vote. As for the “attempts at damage control”, do you refer to his statement that he “felt it was wrong”. So, there is no way that this is how he and Jena both truly felt, and the reason they voted no? There is no reason to interject motives that have not been clearly verified into their votes nor Alex not stating outright that he said no. Provide me proof!!! Because the proof I’ve seen is that both of them genuinely didn’t think the stunt was right, and voted accordingly.

      • Lisa says:

        Yet, you don’t think Caleb should be accountable for the words and intent that came directly from his mouth.

    • Julie Anderson says:

      I’m baffled and even offended by what you are insinuating about Alex. Someone else already addressed some good reasons why. I’ll just add to it that I’m sure there would be mixed feelings and discomfort on his part as Sam is a friend of his, but this is a competition. He and Sam already shared many fans. They are affectionately referred to as Salex by many.

      Sam also understands it is a competition and has stated he thought the elimination should have happened in the natural way and he agreed with the no voters.

      • Lisa says:

        People should spend less time focusing on how each contestant voted, and take a good hard look at what the contestants were asked to do. In plain terms…American Idol tried to manipulate the outcome last week. THAT is the issue. Honestly, we should all be thankful for the no votes, because thanks to them, we ALL have a clear picture of conspiracy to manipulate voting results. None of the contestants were wronged in that. WE as viewers were wronged. Perhaps I should change that statement. ALL of the contestants were wronged, but not by the way the others voted. They were wronged by American Idol. They played the favorites game and got caught, and all that is focused on is that 2 said no and their perceived (yet untrue) motives? What about American Idol’s motives? They should be the ones held accountable for that fiasco, NOT the contestants, PERIOD!

    • Kiki says:

      OMG, you are so right! I saw what Alex did on twitter and it was sickening! Alex is lucky Sam is a bigger man than he is. Jena is just an entitled, spoiled rotten rich girl so I expect nothing less from her, but Alex has lost permanently my votes!

      • Lisa says:

        Yes, his vote was soooo personal. He did it just to hurt Sam. #sarcasm. Have you stopped to even listen to what you’re suggesting?

  30. Mary says:

    First of all Never voted for Caleb because although I find him entertaining I would never purchase music from him after the show, for me not a viable solo artist. I do find him immature and somewhat arrogant. IMO his apology wasn’t even that, changing his word to wacko instead doesn’t make it better. The R word should never be used even as a slip of the tongue, it indicates that he has used it quite frequently. Quite frankly I am sick of people using offensive language and then apologizing because someone called them out on it. I honestly don’t believe Jena or Alex will have backlash due to voting No. I think the majority were grateful they voted the way they did. I want Caleb or Alex to go this week so my girls can be in the final and get hometown visits.

  31. Tusk says:

    IMO it’s not the word that’s offensive, it’s the intent behind it’s use that’s offensive. If you’ve lived long enough, you will see that society’s attitude as to what is an ‘offensive’ word is fluid and has changed, not by the fault of the word as much as a collective agreement based on society’s morays

    When I came to the States, the word ‘colored’ was generally used as a descriptor, not in any hateful way, just as you might describe me as Asian. Then somewhere along the lines, it morphed into “African American” which is ridiculous because not all people who’s skin is dark are Americans nor are they necessarily of African origin….

    So we do a semantic dance along the bigotry minefield. You might step on the wrong figurative mine when you use it and it blows up on you.

    IMO demonizing words are a misdirection. Like the argument: why do some people get to use a certain word, when other’s cannot? Then the argument transitions into who has the ‘right’ to use it, when it should be about the bigotry or hate that’s behind it’s elevation to ‘unspeakable’. The argument about the word’s use muddies up the general discussion about racism, bigotry and hate in general….

    I think it’s too easy to blame words when the root of the attitude/hate/anger would be a more productive discussion in figuring out

    BTW I know it’s twitter, but I find it somewhat ironic how many people who tweet about how wrong Caleb is for using the word, when they, themselves, use the very same word to insult him or his fans…. Somehow, it’s OK for them to use it when ridiculing him or his fans, but not for him to make an unwise choice of words?

    People are smart, mobs/crowds are not smh :P

    (I’ve no horse in this race, I dropped out of caring about any of these guys in a disappointing season, weeks ago, so I’m not defending Caleb, just trying to point out some things on this topic ;) )

  32. Tee says:

    I haven’t voted for Jena, Alex, or Caleb all season and would not have voted for them the rest of the season with or without the twist vote and with or without Caleb’s remark. I’m actually glad someone voted no to the twist but I’m not going to vote for someone for that reason. As for Caleb, he has never struck me as anything except an imitator. I’m not a big rock fan but I really loved James Durbin who brought something new to the table. Caleb never ever has. I had an intuition about his personality issues from the beginning but thought I was just being irrational. His comments confirmed my instincts that he is arrogant and not very bright. First of all, the word *retard* is offensive to any thinking person in the same way that other derogatory terms are. His apology doesn’t even address that. He clearly was talking about fans who sent him song suggestions and not *haters* so his apology was a transparent lie. His hookers and cocaine remarks were clearly a joke but it does sort of tell you where his head is at.

    I have no idea if his remarks will impact the result but I have an opinion that it SHOULD impact the result. I don’t think voting no will hurt Alex and Jena. Nor should it. (And it hurts me to say this because I really have the same irrational feeling about Jena as I have had about Caleb all season).

  33. Scott says:

    I am unconvinced that using an offensive word is a crime worthy of sanction. There is no guarantee that you will sail through your cosseted little life without being offended at some point. You can accept this, and deal with it (get a thick skin), or you can let the actions of some other person have a profound affect on you. I choose the thick skin method of coping.

    That said, I think Caleb was an idiot for saying Retarded (why the hell do people write ‘the r-word’? Keyboards do not ignite if you type Retarded) when he’s trying to win votes. He has bigger problems that this if he wants to win AI, however (namely, his one-trick ponyness).

    • syb says:

      I don’t believe he’s been charged with a crime. Nor do I believe he’s been sanctioned in any way, It’s all about your second paragraph. The consequences are a loss of popularity. Nothing unfair about that. Just individuals drawing their own conclusions and acting (or not) accordingly.

  34. Jase says:

    The problem with these backlash theories is that viewers aren’t voting against a contestant, they’re voting for them. Sure it’s possible bad press could result in some fans just not voting, but isn’t it also likely their fans will vote extra hard precisely because they fear a backlash?

    That said, Caleb’s interview and Jena & Alex’s “no” votes are the best things that could’ve happened to Jessica.

  35. Diz says:

    Who cares. I won’t even remember the story in a week. People are so sensitive. Get over it and move on.

    • Catniss says:

      No kidding. It is pretty nasty to create a poll about this topic instead having a meaningful dialog about it. JLo is being insulted every week on Reality Check (I am not a JLo fan). Why is that okay?Now all of a sudden the PC police is all over Caleb for making a mistake.

  36. my krav is bettah says:

    I have no problem with his comments…the hookers and cocaine reference is more damaging in my opinion…im not judging him based on this but the rubes that watch this show will be. My opinion is it hurt his chances to win this thing although
    at this point jena is the odds on favorite anyway. I think it is gonna end with jena and jessica. I say put them in a bowl of jello and have them wrestle for it.

    • syb says:

      I think most people–or at least those inclined to vote for Caleb understand that the hookers and blow comment was a joke. I doubt that it would have been damaging if he’d been silent after that.

    • Timmah says:

      Miley Cyrus has plenty of sex and drug references in her songs. Doesn’t seem to have hurt her popularity.

      • GuitarBlue says:

        yes, Miley has one video out where it appears they are smoking pot while making the video. Rihanna has also been seen with smoke billows, along with many vids out there. Maybe they made the video in Colorado, who knows.

  37. Kelly says:

    I’m not bothered specifically by the use of the word “retards” but more by the attitude that his comments reveal. Like Michael said, you can’t come on a show like American Idol, where you’re only allowed to be there as long as people keep voting for you, and then bite the hand that feeds you like that. I had Caleb in my top 2 this year, but this gaffe combined with other things (like the earlier thing with the peanut allergy) make me not want to see him win. The last bunch of winners (such as Kris, David, Candice, Phillip) have been really likable, genuine and humble in what they’ve projected. Think of their reactions when they won, their sincere amazement and how it brought tears to your eyes (well, at least it did for me). Go back and watch those coronations if you don’t remember. It’s the payoff for the whole season viewers have invested in. No one wants to see the confetti raining down on someone who is full of himself.

  38. jay bee says:

    I actually had to Google to see what the hubbub was…that shows how much attention it got for anyone who isn’t hardcore into Idol. I think most folks aren’t going to know about it. With that said, I think Caleb is showing the arrogance of a rock star without having earned the right as yet. The kid is talented, but he needs to understand he has yet to win, he has yet to sell a record, and they aren’t putting him in the Rock and Roll hall of fame yet. I believe he should probably make the final three, but frankly the four that are left are pretty formidable and any little thing to turn folks against you may mean the end.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      True, most people I know that watch Idol, are not that far into the politics of the show, enough to be concerned about it – only the more dedicated fans are debating this. A lot of the people who watch and some that vote, won’t know anything about it unless it is brought-up for damage control on the show.

    • Lisa says:

      Well said. You hit the nail right on the head.

    • Lisa says:

      Just keep in mind, many more may know about it than you could realize. Just because they haven’t posted, doesn’t mean they don’t know. You have to think that fans of Caleb google him, you tube him, etc. They may not be posting here, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t affected by the comments, and that it won’t translate in votes or lack of.

      • MAB says:

        Plus he hasn’t posted one tweet on twitter since this all broke. I know I aw something on Facebook where it showed I Randy on The View and Randy said that the winner is Jena or Caleb’s to lose. Most of the comments had to do with Caleb’s interview and they were saying he is finished and that Randy probably didn’t know about it yet. More people know than we think. In the world of Facebook and Twitter things spread with a life of its own.

        • Lisa says:

          And don’t forget You tube. Fans, in general, like to see what videos are out there revolving around the celeb, or in this case contestant. That is how these things go viral in the first place. That doesn’t mean that all fans are the type to post their opinions on boards. It could be on fan’s individual Facebook pages, tweeted to their friends or anyone else who will listen. Perhaps way more than we know. All ANY fan of Caleb has to do is go to You Tube and type Caleb Johnson top 4, and the interview is right there in plain view. Oh, and by the way, it’s only had 91k views. So, ya not many people know about it. #sarcasm. Not to mention, how many other sites has the been reposted on? We don’t really know, but it’s been said that it went viral, so most likely it’s everywhere.

          • Lisa says:

            Side dish… The interview with Alex is on page 2 when you type his name and top 4. By the way, that one only has 2896 views. Not viral.

  39. As if his use of the R word wasn’t bad enough, he bashed his fans. Haters do not take the trouble to give you song suggestions. As a matter of fact, Caleb does NOT get 100s of hate tweets a week. I was following him! I think he doesn’t realize that people can read his feed. Before Saturday, there was no hate being tweeted to him.
    The hookers and cocaine comment was the nail in the coffin, for me. His whole demeanor in that interview was awful: use a very un PC word, bash your fans & your hometown, then come up with a non apology! He was getting 100 votes from me a week. Not anymore!
    Kudos to Alex and Jena for voting to eliminate as planned! That whole attempt at drama by the producers backfired in a most humorous way!

  40. Becky says:

    Down here in Texas it is about respect. If you don’t show respect your pretty much booed out. Twenty years ago Ann Richards had become governor of Texas simply because he refused to shake her hand the night before the election. The race was his, in the at , but he lost by a landslide simply because he did not shake her hand z I am pretty sure Caleb is out of the running for The AI crown, probably will not have that hometown visit.. His fans are his customers and they can close down shop any time they want

  41. jaxguy says:

    I don’t listen or like music for the political or personal statements of the performers. If I did I would stop watching or listening to many. I like Caleb the rocker and what he said was juvenile but so what. Sorry but people make a big deal about EVERYTHING anymore and it’s ruining life.He made a dumb statement but he’s a kid and I hear this kind of stuff from the building full of kids I work with pretty much every day. Will I vote for him? YES.Was it offensive? To a degree but it doesn’t change my mind about him. If this in anyway causes him to get booted early I will stop watching this show for good.

    • Mary says:

      Sorry he is not a kid, he is a 24 year old and should know how to chose his words. You are making excuses for his actions. Like I always told my kid every action has a reaction can be positive or negative you decide. If you work with kids that say things like this every day maybe you should help educate them instead of justifying that it is normal behavior. How would you know if he gets booted early, you can’t possibly know where he stands he might have been the second lowest last week. So I guess what you are saying if he leaves this week your going to stop watching.

  42. jaxguy says:

    Oh and if he gets booted this week I’m done for sure.

  43. jane says:

    Sure, Caleb acted immature and said some stupid things. He probably thought some of them were funny. I vote for the most talented not the nicest. If that’s him, then he will get my vote. My son has learning disabilities and have already have people call him retard at school. It upset me. He came home asking me what it meant. I told him it was a term bullies use to be mean. I don’t think Caleb used it in this way and I hear a lot of people on TV use that word without thinking about how offensive it is. I’ve seen Whoopi on the View use it. I feel a sting then I move on. They aren’t thinking about people like my son. They use it to mean someone acting or saying something stupid. As far as the comments about fans tweeting song choices, I saw it as him being upset about having to sing that dumb Aerosmith song last week per fan choice and knowing it was a bad performance. He was the only one who said something negative about the fan choice on the show. He said it had been done too much on idol and wouldn’t have been a song he chose for himself to sing. He’s not the first contestant to have a bad attitude. Will it effect his chance to win? It might. This is a show where someone like Lee Dewyze beat out someone as awesome as Crystal just people he was a “cute boy.”

  44. Jimbo says:

    The likeability is a big factor, and I don’t really like any of this years bunch. I stopped watching 4 weeks ago and I only watch this video blog because Michael and Melinda are super likeable.

  45. Jamie says:

    Right now I’m kind of disgusted with the whole thing and am not sure I can bring myself to care enough to vote for any of them. Caleb’s remarks and complete lack of sincere apology just are too much. I’m perfectly ok with the no votes from Jena and Alex, but I already found Jena arrogant and off-putting and some of the remarks that she made in the interviews and attempts to spin damage control after acknowledging she voted in her own best interest just didn’t do anything to improve that perception. Alex and Jess seem ok but their personalities don’t exactly come across in a way that makes me want to cheer for them either.

    • Kiki says:

      Jena comes off very obnoxious in interviews. I truly believe she thinks she has this thing won already. I would laugh my ass off to see her go home before the finale. In fact, I really hope that happens.

  46. ck says:

    Idol loves a controversy. Might draw a little more interest to a pretty weak season 13. Caleb reminds me of the lead singer from the movie “The Commitments”. Pretty darn good on stage and, at least in this case, a tool off stage. Think this will hurt him but doubt the average viewer will be aware of what happened. Agree Jessica stands the most to gain from the train wreck of last week. And I’m OK with that. She’s a strong contender and has been underrated.

  47. Brigette says:

    I don’t like the “r” word, but even I’ve let it slip a time or two. It’s hard not to when it’s always being used around you. That’s not what bugs me. It’s the disdain for the fans. His apology doesn’t work for me because it’s CLEAR he was talking about a portion of his FAN BASE who he doesn’t deem “good enough,” and because he repeated the idea that the song suggestions were annoying. I mean, “overwhelming?” I picture Caleb scrolling through his twitter feed, wiping the sweat off his brow, falling to the floor in exhaustion. Just don’t frickin’ READ your notifications if it takes that much out of you. I always found Caleb annoying, but he was growing on me. And now I find him more annoying than ever.

  48. Josh says:

    The fact is likability factors in EVERYTHING in the entertainment industry. That’s part of the competition too. It’s a double edge sword. Use by voting no you might position yourself better, but by admitting to voting no you make your less likable because people like those who remain “loyal”(to what, I don’t know…contestantdom?)

    But every celebrity, especially female celebrities, know that to succeed you need to be likable. I think Jena will get hurt most because yes women have it SOOO much worse…Heck, look at J.Lo. I love Michael but if there is one judge he tends to rag on, it’s her and it’s usually more of a personal thing.

    Sadly I think that part of it is unfair, but overall likability is part of the game…but the thing is, people like to listen to likable people. They like for likable people to win. So I think it is what it is.

    Funny though with all this going on, I think Jessica’s chances of coming out with a win has increased tenfold. So that’s good.

    • Lisa says:

      It’s amazing the people have concluded that Alex’s reason for not stating his vote openly is because he was being disloyal. Actually, he was being the most loyal of all. By not answering, he attempted to maintain the integrity of an anonymous vote. He was loyal to what he agreed to. The rest, by revealing their anonymous vote, are now perceived as being upright because they were disloyal to that process and the one that remained loyal to it, is perceived in a bad light. People seem to keep forgetting that it was supposed to be anonymous. ALL of them should have refused to divulge their vote, but because the others did, it put Alex in a bad position.

      • MAB says:

        Lisa, I totally agree with you on this and much of everything else you have said. I spoke about this on Thursday night. Everyone was saying how they voted and he didn’t know this and was the only one who had the integrity to try and keep it anonymous as it was meant to be. Yet some here are making him look like a jerk for it.

        • Lisa says:

          By the way, Thank you MAB. I think if I remember correctly, we were in agreement on that board also.

    • HTGR says:

      Not entirely sure about that, it seems that many in the entertainment don’t seem to be liked by whole bunches of people but do just fine.
      It’s reality tv though where it does matter and matter a real, real lot. Look how far the down home aww shucks country boy/man act gets may a singer wayyyy past some others who seem able to sing rings around them. And look how female contestants so easily get slammed as arrogant or a B or stuck-up. In many case it’s how the production decides you will be seen as as much as anything else too and they have ways to help people sink themselves by egging them on in unfair ways until they snap just a touch and then the jealous, envious, petty audience can hate on the contestant for not just taking it and being satisfied for being up there.

      • Lisa says:

        Case in point…Charlie Sheen. Big difference is that he made a name for himself first. People can be more forgiving of someone that is established. Additionally, Charlie Sheen wasn’t trying to make his mark on a reality competition where votes can make or break you. The point is, he called his fans (voters) idiots. Yes, I know the word he really used, but I’m using the context word. These are the people that can make or break his standing in this competition. Will it affect him after the show? Who knows. He may still make it as an artist. That’s definitely possible. However, depending on the exposure of the interview (viral), which is beginning to sound like it’s a lot, he may well be finished on this competition. He may still have a career though, since people can tend to gravitate towards celebs that make fools of themselves in front of everyone.

  49. Allison says:

    I could care less what Caleb said, and care even less about how Jena and Alex voted, but I doubt any of this will have an impact on the voting. I think Michael is just paranoid Jena is getting mixed press and is using this column as an excuse to knock Caleb and pimp Jena some more (as if the show isn’t bending over backwards to do so already lol).

  50. J. May says:

    it seems to me that Jena merely wanted to keep the status quo, if only because the situation bothered her so much. The stress level of the show is quite enough at this stage without the producers throwing special twists into it.

    • wingsstef says:

      Not only that, but since Top 4 week is stressful enough with how close the vote is toward the end. Having two people voted off will just make the vote even closer. Also, people should be voted off per week, not in bunches.