Watch: ‘American Idol’ winner Caleb Johnson on ‘cutthroat competition’ (Exclusive video)

“Lucky 13, man!” Caleb Johnson breathlessly told Gold Derby less than a day after winning “American Idol” Season 13. “This has been insane and it’s an honor and it’s so thrilling and terrifying and exciting and it’s just amazing.” (Watch the full webchat with Caleb below.)

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After two previous failed attempts on “Idol” (he auditioned in Seasons 10 and 11), Caleb finally hit the big time. When did he have a feeling that he could actually pull off the win? “The first time that thought crossed my mind was right after the first live show. I was like, you know what, I can do this. I can go out there and kill it and stay focused and make it all the way to the end.”

There’s an interesting pattern emerging on “Idol,” with last year’s winner Candice Glover prevailing on her third try-out and now Caleb following in her footsteps.

‘American Idol’ finale: Caleb Johnson vs. Jena Irene – Did America get it wrong?

Hearing Candice’s name prompted Caleb to school us on some intriguing “Idol” scoop. “Here’s the really cool thing about this. I auditioned in Savannah, Georgia [during Season 11 winner] Phillip Phillips‘ season. It was me, Phillip Phillips and Candice Glover. We all auditioned in that same city. I was just thinking about that the other night and I was like, wow, that’s crazy.”

Caleb had some good advice for contestants who don’t survive the “Idol” juggernaut. “Sometimes it’s not written in the cards or in your destiny, so to speak. Even if it doesn’t work out, you still have to be driven and persistent with whatever goals you have, whatever dreams and visions you have that you want to see realized.”

He concluded, “‘American Idol’ is a competition show but it really sets you up for the actual industry because the industry itself is a cutthroat competition.”

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Below, watch Gold Derby’s full webchat with Season 13 “American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson. Do you think Jena was robbed? Sound off in the comments section at the bottom of this post!

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