We talked with American Idol contestant Caleb Lee Hutchinson about some of his most memorable experiences on the show so far, his favorite country artists, and his post-Idol bucket list.
It wasn’t that long ago that American Idol Top 7 finalist Caleb Lee Hutchinson was playing small gigs around his hometown of Dallas, Georgia. “I’ve been playing for years, even when it was only three or four people in a crowd, and only two of them wanted to listen to me…and they were both my parents,” he told us by phone from Los Angeles early Thursday morning.
It’s safe to say those days are far behind him now. Today Caleb is performing in front of millions on television, has a dedicated fan base (dubbed the #hutchpuppies), and is regularly wowing celebrity judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie. “The idea that people are tuning in to watch me is really crazy,” he said. “I don’t think anything can top that.”
The Man in Black
Caleb has always been drawn to music, inspired by a rich history of traditional country artists. “Singing’s always been my dream as long as I can remember,” he explained. “I never wanted to be the president or an astronaut – I always wanted to be Johnny Cash.” Today he counts artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Eric Church among his favorites.
Caleb’s time on Idol so far has included some very memorable experiences. “Singing with Bebe Rexha was incredible,” he said, referring to his recent duet where he performed Meant To Be. Caleb also loved getting to meet Idol season ten winner Scotty McCreery, who gave him some pretty solid advice. “He told me to always be myself and make choices that are true to me,” he said.
Caleb’s been able to have some fun off-stage as well, including a trip to Disneyland last week. “That was my first Disney experience,” he told us. “I got to run around and scream like a seven year old.”
Despite all the fame and attention, Caleb isn’t letting it change him. “I have a really good foundation to remind me that just because circumstances have changed, I’m still the same person I was six months ago,” he said. “Right now I’m just blessed enough for things to be going well. I certainly don’t take that for granted or let that go to my head whatsoever. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride and hope that something will come from this that I get to live my dream.”
Country’s Most Famous Stage
While his focus is firmly on winning American Idol right now, he does have a couple major goals he’d like to achieve after this experience: playing the Opry, and releasing a full length album. We’d be willing to wager that he’s going to cross both of those off his list in the very near future.
You can support Caleb by voting for him on upcoming episodes of Idol – here’s how: