American Idol's Jena: I Still Don't Have a Prom Dress!
Although the 17-year-old Farmington Hills, Mich., student didn't take home the title of American Idol Wednesday night, she doesn't begrudge the victory to Caleb Johnson, someone she now considers one of her best friends. "I am so happy for Caleb," she told reporters Thursday. "He deserves it all. The production team said that they haven't seen a connection like the one between me and Caleb. It helped with the stress being taken down a couple notches [during competition]."
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Picture Show : Jena Don't need Prom Dress
In fact, the two got along so well that he will be her date to the prom, a fact that was played up on the show. "It's May 28, so me and Caleb are flying in next Wednesday for that," she said. "It started out as a joke when we were in the Top 7 or 8. [But the closer to the end I got], I realized, 'I actually don't have a date and I plan on going.' He was serious the whole time. Our schedules were able to accommodate the date. I still don't have a dress. I'm freaking out! It'll be fun though. I'm excited."
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What's in a name? First of all, we learned that her name is pronounced GEE-nuh, not JEN-uh. But is she Jena Asciutto or Jena Irene, which is the name she took on when the live shows started? "To be honest, production started calling me Jena Irene on accident," she explained. "I would correct them and said Ascuitto. But 'Irene,' I was named for my grandmother who died before I was born. ... She was the coolest lady known to man. ... I know she's looking down on me right now."
Trial by fire Jena feels that she's changed and matured since doing her first media interview when she made it to the Top 13. "I was not the best person to be interviewed. I had not idea what to say," she admitted. "I was unsure of myself. My confidence level wasn't that high because I was a Wild Card. America didn't vote me in ... but that lit a fire under my butt to prove that I belonged in the competition. ... I took into consideration all the advice and followed it to the best of my ability. I think it did me well. But it was also stressful because I had to go to school too and maintain my GPA. My parents taught me that school always comes first. ... But it was easier having my mom there. She gave me positive reinforcement the whole time."
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