American Idol runner-up Jena Irene Asciutto brought winner Caleb Johnson as her date to her North Farmington High School prom at the Dearborn Inn Wednesday night, May 28. (Tanya Moutzalias/Special to the Detroit News) (TANYA MOUTZALIAS / Special to The Detroit News)
Jena Irene Asciutto may not have won “American Idol,” but she got to bring the “Idol” to prom.
The Farmington Hills 17-year-old, the runner-up on this year’s “Idol,” attended North Farmington High School’s prom Wednesday with “Idol” winner Caleb Johnson on her arm.
The two strolled up to the Dearborn Inn around 9:20 p.m., Jena in a white dress and gold glittery eye shadow, Johnson in black rocker duds.
“This is awesome!” Jena said as she stepped out of her black Suburban and greeted members of the press. “Even though we’re like an hour and 15 minutes late, it’s still awesome.”
The couple, whom fans have taken to calling “Jaleb,” arrived in town from New York just a few hours before. They went to Jena’s house to get ready, and ate food from Hercules Restaurant in Farmington Hills, where Jena used to waitress.
The pair decided to come to prom together a few weeks ago. Jena, who missed her prom last year because of “a mean guy,” said it started out as a joke between the two of them. Johnson said it was never a joke.
“He’s an awesome date,” Jena said. “We’ve been best friends for a couple months now, so to actually bring him to prom and bring him to meet all my friends, it’s kinda cool.”
They were looking forward to getting inside and dancing; North Carolina’s Johnson, who took a whiff of the Michigan air and said it smelled like “cow manure,” said he hoped to hear Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” and bust out moves like the stanky leg and the wobble. “Caleb’s always turnt,” Jena said, “so it’s gonna be a fun night.”
The prom was a break from the pair’s rigorous duties on “Idol,” which wrapped May 21. Jena was on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” on Wednesday morning, performing her single “We Are One,” and both start tour rehearsals for “Idol’s” summer trek in early June. Jena will be home for a few weeks, and says she’s looking forward to relaxing, hanging out with friends and watching Netflix. She’ll walk the stage with her graduating class June 8.
Then comes “Idol’s” 41-date summer tour, which kicks off June 24 in Binghamton, N.Y., and wraps Aug. 23, with stops in Windsor on June 27 and Mount Pleasant on Aug. 7.
Johnson’s debut album is due out before the tour wraps, and Jena hopes to begin work on her album soon.
She said she’s glad the show is over, and the mental stress of the competition became taxing. Despite her newfound attention — “I’ve never had press show up to a school dance before,” she said — she hopes some things won’t change.
“I’m still myself,” she said, as she headed into her prom.