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'American Idol' finalist Caleb Lee Hutchinson's hometown visit (photos, video)

Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Caleb Lee Hutchinson was the star of Paulding County Tuesday, receiving honors at his alma mater South Paulding High School and downtown Dallas.

ABC's "American Idol" cameras were there to capture the events with highlights set to air on Sunday night. He is competing with Maddie Poppe from a small town in Iowa and Gabby Barrett from outside Pittsburgh.

The pep rally at his school he graduated last year went smoothly as the band and cheerleaders loudly welcomed him along with more than 2,000 rambunctious students in the stands, including hundreds bused in from the local elementary school. Many wore Caleb-embossed T-shirts handed out free from three local printers. Others held up huge oversized photos of Caleb's face with plenty holding posters saying "Vote Caleb!"

He sang a couple of songs and humbly thanked them for their support, reminding them to vote early and vote often Sunday night to help him win the "Idol" crown.

NOTE: ABC’s “American Idol” cameras were there to capture the events with highlights set to air on Sunday night on WSB TV Channel 2.

The parade in Dallas down Main Street drew thousands of fans, many who arrived hours earlier to nab good spots on the sidewalk. The one eatery on the street Sal's Pizza had lines out the door. And the pharmacy ran out of bottled water. Turnout was comparable to what the more elaborate Christmas parade draws in December and I'm sure the "Idol" producers were heartened by the crowd size, which will look great on the show.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.