published Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Finalist on 'American Idol' is nephew of Signal Mountain woman


Caleb Johnson, one of the three finalists on “American Idol,” has a local connection.

His aunt, Lea Ann Marshall, lives on Signal Mountain. Her husband, Bob Marshall, is former chief financial officer for Krystal and now works as vice president of business development and sales at MetalTek International.

Johnson, 23, is the oldest son of Lee Ann Marshall’s sister, who lives in Asheville, N.C.

“American Idol” airs tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox. Johnson will be going up against Alex Preston and Jena Irene. Each will sing three songs during the two-hour program — one picked by the judges, one selected by former judge Randy Jackson and the third selected by voters in each finalist’s hometown. Irene is from Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Preston is from Mont Vernon, N.H.

The three also got a week off from rehearsals in Los Angeles to return to their hometowns, and video from those trips will be aired on tonight’s show.

Johnson caught some heat recently for using the word “retards” in a tweet about people using social media to tell him what to sing on “American Idol.” He quickly apologized, calling the remark “juvenile.”

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