March 06, 2006 12:00 PM

AGE: 18

HOMETOWN: Veteran, Wyo.

LATEST GIG: This season’s most endearing reject on American Idol

NAME GAME: “I had two nicknames [on the show], ‘the Crying Cowboy’ and ‘Turkey Boy,'” says Johnson, who sings to his pet turkey Tom on his family’s 1,000-acre ranch. “I cry when something’s really emotional. But the other day, I fell in a ditch with a tractor and almost died, and I didn’t cry.”

GAGA IN LA-LA LAND: “My first time flying was to Hollywood,” says Johnson, who also got his first glimpse of an ocean. “I jumped in the darned thing. I broke my cell phone. My mom sent me another one.”

END OF THE TRAIL: “I was always so nervous onstage,” he says of his underwhelming Idol performances. “Especially my last audition. My music teacher is so dang stern. He says I pushed too hard with my songs and need to learn how to control my breath. I plan to continue taking my lessons until I get it right, because I’m a stubborn person.”

THE PRICE OF FAME: “I was walking past a row of people [at a Denver restaurant] the other day, and they went silent,” recalls Johnson, who’s been fielding calls from music and movie executives. “When I walked back, they stared at me. It was cool [but] kind of uncomfortable. I tipped my hat and I ran away.”

You May Like