Artifice, thy name is American Idol. In a stacked deck of a performance finale tonight, Lauren Alaina drew four aces, and Scotty McCreery was left holding a single Old Maid card, live from the Nokia Theater.
Oh, I know, I’ve never met a conspiracy theory or a heavy-handed edit I didn’t embrace, but from the second Ryan Seacrest called a real live medical doctor up on stage to bemoan the sorry state of Little Lauren’s vocal cords, you knew which contestant was getting the full and unyielding support of Nigel Lythgoe & Co.
A fleeting “Round 1 to Scotty” from Randy and J.Lo, followed by seven consecutive “win” votes for “I’m Just Lauren”? Check. Another mention by Randy of the return of the amazing 15-year-old the judges grew to love in her Nashville auditions? Check. A prominently displayed lineup of six shimmering pink and black signs spelling out L-A-U-R-E-N? Check! A coronation song tailor made to wring tears from Lauren like a dishcloth pulled fresh from a soapy sink? Oh, you betcha!
But as we learned in David-Vs.-David and Adam-Vs.-Kris, nothing activates a contestant’s fan base like a “Thanks for playing! You definitely didn’t disgrace yourself!” treatment from the judges and producers. And that’s why I’m predicting Scotty will win — and after a season of excellent consistency (if not scintillating excellence), why he should win, too.
Lauren seems like a sweet kid, totally willing to play her assigned role and hit her notes with a booming elegance. But week in and week out, Scotty has shown the confidence, charisma, and vocal skill (almost) worth of Idoldom. That’s how I see it, but since I have a full Idol recap to write — look for it overnight right here at TVLIne.com — I’m going to post a set list and turn things over to you. [UPDATE: Full recap is now live!]
Tonight’s Set List
Scotty McCreery: Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone”
Lauren Alaina: Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor”
Scotty McCreery: George Strait’s “Check Yes or No”
Lauren Alaina: Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis”
Scotty McCreery: “I Love You This Big”
Lauren Alaina: “Like My Mother Does”
ALSO: HORRIBLE SWAYBOTS
What did you think of the Season 10 Idol finale? What were your favorite and least favorite performances? Vote in our polls below, then hit the comments to declare which contestant should and will win the season? And for all my Idol news, reviews, and interviews — including video Q&As next week with the Season 10 Top 3 — follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!