Teen country singer Scotty McCreery crowned new "Idol"
It was the battle of the teenage country crooners, but 17-year-old Scotty McCreery bested fellow high schooler Lauren Alaina to win the 10th season of " American Idol" on Wednesday (5/25) at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
After what host Ryan Seacrest said was a record-breaking 122 million viewer votes, Garner, NC, native McCreery, with his incredibly low voice, was victorious over weepy 16-year-old Alaina, who hails from Rossville, GA.
Upon learning of his win, McCreery bent over in surprise and then hugged Alaina as fans watching a feed of the show celebrated at his hometown RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.
"Man, it's been a year since me and Lauren Alaina tried out, and me and her have been together since day one and we're gonna stay together," he said. "Never in my wildest dreams … I gotta thank the Lord firs; he got me here."
In a post-show interview with Fox News, McCreery said, "It was a tight race … I had a lot of thoughts going through my head."
McCreery is the fourth consecutive male to win the Fox-TV show. However, he has a lot in common with the last female winner: Jordin Sparks took home the prize in 2007 as a 17 year old as well.
The two-day finale wasn't without drama. According to published reports, Alaina nearly backed out of the competition on Tuesday (5/24) due to a sprained vocal cord. Instead, she underwent emergency medical treatment and, the judges said, she topped McCreery on the performance night. That evening, Alaina mustered the songs "Flat on the Floor" by "American Idol" winner Carrie Understood, Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis" and her potential single, the moving "Like My Mother Does." Meanwhile, McCreery sang his single, "I Love You This Big," along with Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" and George Strait's "Check Yes or No."
Wednesday's results show was chock full of star-studded performances with special guest stars. Winner McCreery duetted with Tim McGraw on "Live Like You Were Dying." The uber-successful Underwood returned to "Idol" sing with Alaina on her hit "Before He Cheats."
The rest of the performances were nothing to sneeze at. Resident metalhead James Durbin sang a medley of Judas Priest songs with the legendary band, including lead singer Rob Halford. Casey Abrams came back to sing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" with comedian/actor Jack Black. Beyonce stepped out for "Crazy in Love" with the female finalists, who also later joined "Celebrity Apprentice" contestant Lil Jon and TLC. Haley Reinhart collaborated with 85-year-old Tony Bennett. Jacob Lusk sang "I Smile" with gospel star Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight.
But the cast didn't join the superstars for all the songs. Mentor Lady Gaga sang her apropos new single "The Edge of Glory," which appears on the obvious No. 1 album for this week, "Born This Way." Beyonce reappeared to debut the opening track "1 + 1" from her forthcoming album "4." Complete with a Spidey lunging from the ceiling, U2's Bono and Edge pushed their much-maligned musical "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" with the song "Rise Above 1," sung with the musical's star Reeve Carney of the band Carney. His bandmates, Zane Carney (guitar), Jon Epcar (drums), and Aiden Moore (bass), perform nightly with the Broadway orchestra of "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark."
Judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez made appearances on stage as well. Lopez headed for the stage and shook her famous behind for Marc Anthony's performance, planting a kiss on her husband at the end. Tyler sang "Dream On," criminally, without Aerosmith backing him.
There was a little miscue when the men were introduced for a number with Tom Jones midway through the show, as host Ryan Seacrest introduced Abrams as Season Nine finalist Casey James.
Perhaps ousted "American Idol" contestant Pia Toscano put it best, in terms of the age of the finalists.
"Words can't describe how proud I am of you," Toscano said in a videotaped segment. "They're like my little babies."
McCreery, Alaina and the nine other finalists from Season 10 will regroup for the American Idols Live! tour, which opens July 6 in Salt Lake City.
6 - Salt Lake City, UT - Maverik Center
8 - Everett, WA - Comcast Arena at Everett
9 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden Arena
11 - Sacramento, CA - Power Balance Pavilion
12 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
13 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion at San Jose
15 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre LA Live
16 - Ontario, CA - Citizens Business Bank Arena
17 - Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Center
19 - Oklahoma City, OK - Cox Convention Center
20 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
21 - Houston, TX - Reliant Arena at Reliant Park
22 - New Orleans, LA - Lakefront Arena
24 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center
26 - Duluth, GA - Arena at Gwinnett Center
27 - Raleigh, NC - RBC Center
28 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena
30 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena
21 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
2 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
3 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
4 - Milwaukee, WI - Bradley Center
6 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
7 - Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena
9 - Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center
10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
11 - Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena
13 - Atlantic City, NJ - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
14 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
17 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
19 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
20 - Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum
21 - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
23 - Long Island, NY - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
25 - Bridgeport, CT - Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard
27 - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center
28 - Albany, NY - Times Union Center
30 - Portland, ME - Cumberland County Civic Center
31 - Manchester, NH - Verizon Wireless Arena
1 - Worchester, MA - DCU Center
3 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
6 - Syracuse, NY - OnCenter Complex
9 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
10 - Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena