Hello American Idol fans! Welcome to the American Idol Junior Finale! The Justin Bieber Country Spectacular! Baby lock dem doors and turn the crazy lights on high! The finale of the Simon-Less American Idol has arrived. The season overall? Not too bad, not too bad. They pulled me out of retirement for live show recapping, so that says something. But maybe it was to help fill the void of an actual critical judge! Anyway, we're here at the end of the road with 2 contestants that not everyone is thrilled about. Scotty, the country crooner that early on I thought would tire on us, but eventually became the hands-on Taylor Hicksian favorite to win the competition. Then there is Lauren, the early on favorite that we rolled our eyes at because of Nigel Lythgoe tweeting his support during the auditions for her. We immediately wanted to hate her, but she won us over with that charm (well, a lot of us). While she won us over though, she ended up lacking a killer performance to make us all swoon over her. But she became an underdog that people wanted to root for. People wanted her to have her moment and voted people that DID tire on us off of the show. And while many of us voted and voted for Lauren to be in that finale with Scotty, I wasn't sure if I would want to vote in this final performance episode unless she really sold me that she deserved it. Did she? We'll have to find out. I've been pretty much saying this was Scotty's competition to lose and he has seemingly dominated all season long. Can one night turn the tide? I just don't know. But let's find out as we recap this finale as we always do! ROUND BY ROUND!
First, a little business. I'm really on a losing streak with my predictions as of late. For a while I was unstoppable. Let's take a little trip down memory lane. Don't worry, I won't do what I used to do and recap each finale before I recap THIS finale! (Disclaimer, season 1-3 picks are not documented on this site, so you'll just have to trust me!)
- Season 1 Winner: Kelly Clarkson
My Pick: Kelly Clarkson (not even a contest after Tamyra was booted and Kelly still would have won)
- Season 2 Winner: Ruben Studdard
My Pick: Clay Aiken
- Season 3 Winner: Fantasia (worst season EVER!!)
My Pick: Craptasia
- Season 4 Winner: Carrie Underwood (Bo put up a good fight though)
My Pick: Carrie Underwod
- Season 5 Winner: Taylor Hicks
My Pick: Taylor Hicks (nothing could stop the soul patrol!)
- Season 6 Winner: Jordin Sparks
My Pick: Jordin Sparks (called that one real early. And yes, 2nd worst season ever!!)
- Season 7 Winner: David Cook
My Pick: David Cook (I was never more proud of a pick when he took down the artichoke! Both present at tonight's festivities by the way.)
- Season 8 Winner: Kris Allen
My Pick: Adam Lambert (though I was pleasantly surprised)
- Season 9 Winner: Lee DeWyze
My Pick: Crystal Bowersox (I lost all faith in the American Idol voting system)
So there it is. I did not favor on the Teenage texting voting that has now become a major player in this battle. They're voting in their male hearthrob idols. It's all just a theory, but the evidence is pretty scary. Does that mean Scotty has this in the bag? And will I take the safe route and pick him? I'm 6-3 on a 2 game losing streak. Yikes. What to do. Let's recap and find out!
Contestant's Choice of Previous Performance
- Scotty McCreery - "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry - This originally was one of Scotty's best performances. He has never looked more comfortable on the stage and country rocktified the audience. He even got the crowd participating this time with the so catchy "BANG BANG" part of the song. (tough words to memorize too! Whew!) Loved the baseball swing to finish up the tune also, harking back to his baseball days back home. Good stuff. Not much else to say about it. Solid Solid performance.
- Lauren Alaina - "Flat on the Floor" by Carrie Underwood - Lauren originally rocked this one too. Now, we had already received word that Lauren strained her vocal cords earlier in the week and there were even tweets that Haley was rehearsing to take her place. Ouch!! Of course, this disclaimer may actually go to HELP her earn a sympathy vote, but she might not have needed it. You could tell her voice was strained on this first one and she was having her breathing issues as always. But the performance was still rockin. There is one part of the musical arrangement that is just flat out bizarre. The first time, I thought Lauren messed up. Now, I know it's the band. There's not even a key change or anything so I'm not sure why they make it sound like that. And of all things, they played THAT part back during the "end of show" recap. Weird.
Loved that there wasn't judges feedback until after 2 songs. But, it was to make room for a ridiculous Coke Commercial and the traditional Idol winner singing the "Goodbye Song" to a montage of this season's clips. (Go David Cook! No Go to Usher Wannabe with his Ninja Marching Band Glow In the Dark Drummers! Dude, wearing sunglasses at night is sooooo 80s!)
Anyway, Round 1 was pretty easy to judge, and I judged them before I heard Randy's ridiculous and repetitive comments. He was a little more subtle about it. Scotty was the hands down winner of round 1. No contest.
Scotty 1, Lauren 0
Famous Country Musician's Choice
- Scotty McCreery - "Check Yes or No" by George Strait (Selected by George Strait) - I love the song choice. And it was a perfect choice for Scotty. He got to sport his guitar just like George does and sing his simple song about asking a girl if she loves him. The problem with the song choice is that there just isn't much to it. Of course, there's not much to Scotty's singing style anyway. It's the low voice that works for him and for most of it he stuck there. It worked for him. It was a Scotty concert, like Randy always likes to say.
- Lauren Alaina - "Maybe it Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis (Selected by Carrie Underwood) - Pretty cool that Carrie picked a song for Lauren. And it probably wasn't just made up by producers since a picture of Carrie, Scotty and Lauren showed up on Twitter this past week! Of course, I'm sure she'll be performing tomorrow night! Anyway, this was a moment for Lauren to shine. Despite auditioning for synchronized figure skating with Jennifer Lopez with those crazy dresses, Lauren never sounded more country and at home than she did on "Memphis". Perfect song for her voice, and Miss Underwood should be picking more songs for contestants based on it! You could tell her voice was straining a bit here too but it didn't matter. She looked good, sounded great and the personality shone right through. When Lauren is firing on all cylinders, it's tough for Scotty to keep up!
I don't think this round was even close either. The judges can't just pick a clear person and take a stand like Simon used to. Yeah they gave Lauren the edge, but it was a BIG edge. Lauren came tonight to put on a show and show people something they have been hoping to see for a long time!
Scotty 1, Lauren 1
Cue ninja drummers and Coke commercial. Be POSEEEETIVE!!!! Seriously, how many downloads do you think this song is really going to get???
The Dreaded Idol Song and Contestant's First Single
I'm not going to go and say that the 2 songs picked out by Jimmy Iovine were the greatest songs ever written. But they were MILES and MILES better than the crap we've been hearing for the 9 years prior. It seems like they finally got out of the mold of trying to write a "POSSSEEEEEETIIIIVE" themed song and just wrote a viable song for these contestants to sing. Something that speaks to them and their journey. And, by gosh, I think it worked.
- Scotty McCreery - "I Love You This Big" - What? Not Inside Your Heaven? Not Do I Make You Proud? Not This is My Now? Okay, nevermind the song title is a bit cheesy! But the verse that Scotty sang seemed to speak to him and he sang it really well. I could have done without him putting his arms out every time he sang "THIS BIG," but it's tough not to do that with the lyric! Scotty did a good job on the song and he did nothing tonight different from the norm. He sang his songs the way he sings them and was a likable contestant in doing so. He performed them with his mature poise for a 16 year old and put on a good show.
- Lauren Alaina - "Like My Mama Does" - But kids, this was Lauren Alaina's night! I mean, what better strategy of a song choice than to target all the mothers of America and the heartland with a song called "Like My Mama Does"?? And to top it off, she walked down and gave her crying mama a hug during it and sang to her. I mean, even if it was a shrewd business move, there wasn't a dry eye in the house or in this house (well, I kept it together, I was talking about the Mrs. of course!). The song sounded good and Lauren never sounded better. It seemed like we had been waiting all season for Lauren to have her moment and she saved it for "a moment like this" (oooohhh did I just really do that?)!!! The final competition performance of the competition. Lauren gets the standing O, gets moms crying, wins some votes over. Convinced me to vote for her for 30 straight minutes after the competition. (that's a lot of texting TWEENS!!! Yeah yeah, I'm sure some just text and text for 2 hours straight but whatever! And yes, I was still watching other TV shows during this text-a-thon! I multi-task with the best of them) Also, did anyone else see Scotty say to Lauren "That was beautiful." after the performance? If you missed it, he even told TV Guide the same thing afterwards (yep, Twitter, wonderful little tool)
Sorry Scotty-files, I like the guy too but I agree with the judges.
Scotty 1, Lauren 2
Scotty 1, Lauren 2
So, that's it. In my opinion, Lauren won the night. Does that really mean much though in the scheme of things? By the time a finale rolls around, usually these things are already decided. We have seen Lauren in the bottom 2 before. Never have we seen Scotty there. Dialidol.com has had Scotty dominating the entire season with the exception of one week (it just happened to be Lauren that week too).
This is where we need to call back on our 3 year history. David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee Dewyze. Ever since texting has taken over the nation and the American Idol voting system, it's been near impossible for a girl to win this thing. And a teenage male hearthrob has been in the final 2 each time. So, do I take the easy way out and declare Scotty the winner? Or do I go with my gut and have a little faith in America? Truthfully, I don't think either of these kids needs to win. Earlier on in the season, I would have said Lauren needs it more than Scotty. But both of these 2 have a future in country music. And they're so young they're only going to improve.
It's a tough call, America. But, really, what do I have to lose? I'm already on a 2 year losing streak! And I really don't think America wants to make Lauren cry. We've seen it before and it made all of our hearts melt. Therefore, I declare that the winner of American Idol 2011 is.......
(I probably just sealed the deal for Scotty)
In all honesty, I'd be happy for either of them if they won. They both seem to be very sweet individuals with a decent career ahead of them. I've been rooting for Lauren in this latter half of the season. And even when I rolled my eyes at her in the beginning, I couldn't help but be interested in her growth throughout the show. America likes to see a contestant improve throughout the show. America likes to have someone they can root for. If the past 3 years have indicated anything other than Male Idolism, it was that they didn't want the ALREADY ESTABLISHED STAR to win. They like the one that built up a following throughout the show. Oh sorry, I just started laughing and had to stop typing. I just accidentally referred to David Archuleta as an already established star!! Anyone remember that video he made right after losing Idol? The Crush song? Ooh, the video is good times. Anyway, you know what I mean. Probably applies more to the past 2 years with Adam and Crystal losing.
Plus, it's time for another girl to win, wouldn't you say!? And if Nigel has any input, he'll make it happen!
Anyway, I'm sure there will still be a lot of people who thinks Scotty has this in the bag and they have every reason to think that might be true. We'll see what happens!
But, it's finally time to close the book on yet another season of Idol. We thought I was done last year, but here I am again. Next year? Eh we'll see! I'll most likely skip the auditions again maybe just having one post and commenting time permitting. But, this season may not be over yet. I may find time to do a results show post for this final episode. And with that, I'll turn the floor over to the dedicated commenters! What do you guys think? Does Scotty still have this thing sealed up? Did Lauren do enough to win? Will Haley still end up annoying us all and winning anyway? Nothing would surprise me anymore! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you after the results!