American Idol

Special Photo/Disney-ABC Paulding County teenager Caleb Lee Hutchinson is in the Top 3 on American Idol.

Eric McCandless

On April 29, Paulding County teenager Caleb Lee Hutchinson was in the Top 10 Idol American Idol category. From the beginning, the Idol judges seemed to favor Hutchinson. Selecting the right song has always been an important factor for each contestant.

The Top 10 were sent to Disneyland in Anahiem, California, to work on their performance.

“I was really excited to work with Disney singer Idina Menzel, who was the vocalist in many of the Disney movies,” said Hutchinson. “Most of us have not ever been to Disneyland and it was cool to meet with our favorite characters like Woody. Idina gave me more confidence and she liked my vocal tone, too. I wasn’t used to people coming up to me me and wanting to take my picture and get an autograph.”

The group sang two songs for their next performance and had to select a composition from the Prince catalog and one tune from Disney. It was different to watch Hutchinson perform a pop-rock song that is not usually in his country genre music. He selected the iconic tune, “When Doves Cry” and did an excellent version of Prince’s composition. Hutchinson’s other tune that he sang from the Disney movie “Toy Story” was “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” written by Randy Newman. Judge Katy Perry thought that it was a great song choice and Judge Luke Bryan stated “That it was a great song choice which has helped you (Caleb) to be where you are today.”

At the Top 10 level, unlike when the judges were deciding who would be able to remain in the contest, the audiences around the country were voting who should stay. The nationwide viewers used text numbers right after each contestant finished their performance. Hutchinson was the first person to be allowed to stay in the contest which meant that he also out-voted the rest of the group. Now he was in the top 7.

Last Sunday two more contestants went home. Again, Hutchinson became the first performer to receive more votes nationwide than any other contestant to reach the Top 5 category. The Top 5 went to Nashville on May 13. This time their mentor was American Idol and renowned entertainer Carrie Underwood.

What occurred on May 13 nationwide was simply amazing as, for the third time, Paulding County’s Caleb Lee Hutchinson received the highest number of votes to stay in the Top 3. It was Mother’s Day and Hutchinson sang Jamey Johnson’s “Stars in Alabama,” with his mom, Piper Hutchinson, in the audience. Hutchinson told everyone “I’m having a blast and this entire experience has helped me to overcome pressure.”

It has been an amazing trip for west Georgia’s Caleb Hutchinson. The 19-year-old teenager has come a long way from his singing at Mill Town Music Hall when he was a contestant in the BRIDGE contest when he was 14 years old. It will be two weeks before the grand finale decides who will be the American Idol for 2018. But whatever happens, the Top 10 will be touring the country this summer with Season Eight American Idol winner Kris Allen as host. This will be a challenge for some of the singers who have never witnessed huge audiences in big arenas. And what is definitely super is that these singers will receive compensation for the 22 concerts.

A hometown parade was planned in Dallas earlier this week ahead of the final vote next Sunday.

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