Darius Rucker steals a piece of “American Idol” runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson’s “Johnny Cash Heart,” as the two become “fast friends”

ABC/Eric McCandless

Caleb Lee Hutchinson might have missed out on winning American Idol — his girlfriend Maddie Poppe ended up winning the crown —  but the Georgia native doesn’t seem to mind, especially since he got to perform on the finale with one of his heroes.  

Monday night, Caleb sang “Wagon Wheel” with Darius Rucker, who he tells ABC Radio is “a huge idol to me.”  He adds, “I grew up listening to Hootie and the Blowfish…all his country albums and all his work is just incredible.”

“Meeting him was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with anyone that’s famous like that,” he continues, “’cause he’s just the coolest guy ever.” 

Caleb worked to keep his cool during his time with Darius, but admits he might have lost it just a little bit.

“I tried my best to contain myself when I was talking to him,” he explains. “But then I was like, ‘Okay, I have some questions.’ You know, I was trying to get my way into a concert or two.”

“I asked him all about Hootie… I asked him if he could sing ‘Let Her Cry’ for me, ’cause that’s…a good tearjerker that I hold very close to my heart.”  Caleb also got some advice from Darius.

“He told me I had an old country voice,” he reveals, “and just to keep going.”

But did Darius sing “Let Her Cry” for him?

“Not yet! But I have faith. I think we’re fast friends!” Caleb says. “Maybe he’ll call me… and let me come to the reunion concert.”  

Darius and Hootie will reunite this summer to play Braves’ Stadium in Atlanta with Jason Aldean.   We don’t think Caleb, whose new single “Johnny Cash Heart” was written by Rascal Flatts‘ Jay DeMarcus, should have any trouble scoring a ticket. 

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