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NC ‘Idol’ contestant apologizes for controversial comments

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Caleb Johnson

An “American Idol” finalist from North Carolina is apologizing for controversial comments he made during a recent interview.

Yahoo Music reported that Asheville native Caleb Johnson blasted some of the people who suggested songs for him during an interview with After Buzz TV.

“(Twitter) gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me,” Johnson said. “I don’t really enjoy having to see somebody telling me what song I have to sing. I think at this point of the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs and represent me.”

Johnson also expressed resentment over having to sing the Aerosmith ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” a fan-requested song he has admitted to hating.

Johnson has apologized on social media for his recent comments to After Buzz TV.

Johnson is a top four finalist after fellow contestant Sam Woolf was sent home on Thursday.


  • Bob

    American Idol is a good gauge of seeing how automatic fame affects young people. Some kids seem to handle it OK, and remain humble but there are some, with each passing week, you see them become more and more overly confident and even entitled. As a fellow North Carolinian, I would have loved to support Caleb, but he needs to come down off his high horse and remember how he got as far as he did. Those “retards” he’s referring to are the ones who keep him in this competition. Terrible choice of words…and terrible attitude. I predict he sabotages his chances at winning if he hasn’t already.

  • American Idol watcher

    WOW!!!! I think someone needs to get his head out of the clouds and realize without “retards” fans he would still be playing no where and for sure not be on American Idol and I for one don’t think he is worth following or voting for….

  • holly alls

    I have been a huge fan of Caleb’s since the beginning but after these remarks having a 4 year old autistic child I do not believe I can do that anymorre.he has an amazing voice to bad he couldn’t use it to say something smart guess I’ll be following jess now .he has the right to his own opinion but If he truly wants to be in the public eye he needs to grow up and watch what he says and realize it can affect a lot of people

  • Tammy Dutch

    Geez, lighten up folks! You just can’t joke anymore without anyone getting their panties in a knot!!! What he said had nothing to do with anyone’s handicapped family members. It’s people that take things too seriously that start the controversy, not the person who said it, in an innocent conversation….

    • Kelly

      Agreed Tammy. Not a word, phrase or term can be said, it seems, without someone getting all worked up. Hell, I am a redhead… so I am gonna scream and yell when i get the typical carrot top comment. sheesh. People need to chill out on this stuff.

    • Elizabeth loflin

      the remark was offensive because the first thing that came to his mind Was how retards as he calls them are not as smart as other people
      if you knew this population of so-called retards then you would understand how offensive it really is

      • H

        Mentally retarded people are, in fact, not as smart as other people; that is why they are called mentally retarded. *Retarded: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress.*

    • carol

      He’s going to be irrelevant after American Idol. I didn’t even know who this loser was until I heard about his comments on the radio. Just having a good voice doesn’t take you far now a days. You have to have looks and/or be likeable, and apparently he has neither. His “retards” comment wasn’t just insulting to those who have mental disabilities (which I dont think was his intention). It’s insulting to those who have actually cared enough to get him as far as he’s gotten on this show. Ungrateful loser.

  • Thelma Oatman

    Caleb is to full of himself. He can sing but there are lots of others who can to and I personally don’t think they should have sent Sam home.

  • Darlene

    It could have been one of those days like we all have and things were going wrong and he opened his mouth and his foot got stuck. I mean who hasn’t been there a time or two? Sometimes things get blown out of sorts and unless we were standing right there in the moment we really don’t know the whole conversation or anything else that could have been happening.

  • Bran

    he actually had the kahunas to say what a lot of people want to. maybe he should have used a different word, but still. this country has become such a wimpy country full of thin skinned whiny babies.

  • ?

    My brother is mentally retarded. That’s what he is – retarded. I have never understood why this word became a “bad word” So, it has been used to describe people who are mentally retarded. So what? That’s what they are! I suppose we should go ahead and discontinue the use of the word “autistic”, also; no doubt it will be considered an offensive word in 20 yrs or less. The 50% – 80% of “autistic” children who are mentally retarded are simply that – mentally retarded – it just feels nicer to call them autistic. How long will that last? We’ll have to keep coming up with new words over and over to describe the same condition.

  • Elizabeth loflin

    and if you go back and reread his apology he equates retards with the wackos so he apologized because he called the fans wackos but evidently wacko’s are stilretards you know my dear niece is mentally challenged and all of her life she has been looked on as stupid or less than that is why the word is so offensive I know that it’s used a lot but people need to stop and think about what they’re saying I’m sure there was another word like stupid idiot all of those have been used to describe retards so why not use one of those words for the wackos and yeah people are trying to be politically correct that’s why he apologized to the fans that were not the retards

  • Denise Bookie

    Caleb is very young and used a poor choice of words and he has apologized. He can be taught some finesse in speaking to the media, but you cannot be taught his gift. He is arguably the best singer in the competition. Last time I checked, this was a SINGING competition, not a competition to see who has more finesse with the media. Give the poor kid a break and judge him for the reason he is in the competition.

  • Isabella

    Ugh! Don’t you get it?? He wasn’t taking about real mentally challenged people. He was talking about his FANS. All of you sticking up for him and me included once upon a time. Insert any word you want that has nothing to do with a mental condition. Jerks, peons, scum, turds, freaks. Whatever. All he did was throw his whole fanbase under the bus. I don’t want to support someone who thinks I’m a pebble in his shoe. He has NEVER vocalized any appreciation, aside from this lame attempt at an apology, for his fan’s support. Just always gushing about the band, never acknowledging the fans. Unless you want to count his comment on making the old ladies cry. Ugh. Really, I blew off that comment at the time, although I wasn’t too crazy about it ..I love confidence, but now I see he’s just full of all the wrong kind of cockiness. Ex-fan out.

  • lee

    I’m a fan of American Idol but no fan of Caleb Johnson’s. I said weeks ago that he needs to come off his high horse. He always acted like he didnt care what the judges thought and seemed annoyed that he had to stand there and listen to them. He is definetly no “Idol”.

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