Sunday, May 29, 2011

American Idol Season 10 Wrap-Up

Who should have won American Idol: Lauren Alaina (based solely on a slight edge vocally Tuesday night, with a great assist to the Idol producers who tried to stack the deck for her with better songs and massive theaterical advantages)
Who I predicted would win American Idol: Scotty McCreery
Who won American Idol: Scotty McCreery

It has now been a few days since I watched the Finale, which was a pretty entertaining show, in contrast to the final performance night. Lauren's vocal problems last week seem to have prevented her from taking part in as many musical numbers as might have originally been planned for her, but it must have been a thrill for her to share a stage with Carrie Underwood. That pairing shows that Lauren still has a way to go perhaps, but I sense she may already be ahead of where Mrs. Carrie Underwood Fisher was at the age of 16. For his part, Scotty may have actually outsang Tim McGraw in their duet. Of course, James Durbin with Judas Priest may have been my personal musical favorite.

Congratulations to both Scotty and Lauren. I would have been happy if either of them had been declared the winner, even though their musical stylings may not be my thing. The fact that so many cultural leftists seem to dislike them so, makes me feel even better about their win, both for them and for mainstream America. The Red State rule may have been restored as well.

True Idol fans are now well-aware that the prophecy of Kristy Lee Cook has been fufilled! (Mom and Dad, you can ask me about that later.)

Scotty's win is hardly surprising. He may have had this wrapped up weeks ago. The judges' efusive praise of Lauren on Tuesday would have only served to motivate his fan base. They perhaps were just looking to make it seem more competitive than it was. Since no final voting percentages were given, it was likely a blowout. The Drudge Report stated Wednesday afternoon that Scotty was the winner by a 2-1 margin.

Critics of both Lauren and Scotty argue that they should not have been in the Finale, not just because they both do country music, but because they took so few musical risks during the season. While that may be largely true, it is also worth mentioning that both minors had the requirement of schooling during their time on the show, leaving them with considerably less time to work on stuff than their older counterparts.

Scotty is now the fourth consecutive guitar playing male to be victorious. One of those has now won every season since instruments were allowed to be played by contestants on the show. However, he happened to utilize his instrument on his performances a lot less frequently than his predecessors. It is also quite interesting (and it will especially be to Conservative Democrat), that although Scotty comes across, personally and musically, as someone who would perhaps only appeal to groups of white folk, the youngest ever male winner is also actually the first ever Latino American Idol! Yes, he is a quarter Puerto Rican. His victory should be a proud moment for all Hispanic-American, right?

As mentioned many times, country music is not my thing, but I see no reason why both Scotty and Lauren, who now have record deals, cannot make it in that industry. It may take a few years for both, but I would expect them both to move to Nashville and have their talents dictate how high they can go.

Lauren was the "chosen one" from the audition rounds, and while that person never wins the show, she actually lasted longer in the face of potential backlash than many expected. She gave both very good performances and some subpar ones during her run, but never truly had a "moment." I find her much more likable than I did during the early rounds of the competition. Either she was getting a bad edit previously, or learned how to come across better on television. At times this season, she seemed so emotionally fragile, but she handled her falling just short on Wednesday night with the perfect amount of grace and dignity. She probably even knew that Scotty had it wrapped up, and was perhaps just looking forward to the chance to get to plant a kiss on him with the tv cameras rolling. It will probably be a great story if those two kids wind up together one day. The Idol internets is full of speculation that they already may be.

Scotty's journey, while perhaps somewhat inevitable, was also interesting. For much of the season, I found him maddenginly consistent, in singing pretty well, but just being somewhat boring in his old school country lane. Later on, he would have a couple performances that I considered to be disappointingly cheesy, but also others at times that I considered to be quite strong. I also do not think he ever really had a "moment" vocally, but he apparently did not need to even try.

His personal likability and poise, at such a young age, also had much to do with his success. When he first auditioned, the talk was about how weird it was for such a young boy to have a deep voice. During Hollywood week, he had a really bad edit, where it appeared he only knew the Baby Lock Them Doors song, and was nothing more than a one trick pony. He was shown butchering lyrics to a song he attempted ("nuts of wonder") and came across as a jerk for being part of a group that kicked the cherubic young Jaycee Badeaux out. A lot of people were shocked that he was picked to advance to the Top 24 over the older, cowboy hat wearing country crooner John Wayne Schultz. In fact, if both singers had been advanced, Scotty may not have even made the finals with country fans splitting that vote. The producers of Idol seemed to know what they were doing though.

Despite the drama for Scotty during Hollywood week, he redeemed himself in the eyes of many by his sheephishness in staying alive in the competition. He was quoted as saying he did not understand why he was not cut, and seemed to be genuine about it. Also, he apologized to the judges for not standing up for Jaycee, and also was seen breaking down in tears over his guilt over the matter. Scotty would cry again of course during his recent Homecoming visit, and that was certain to win him a ton more female power-voters. For as much as Scotty often appeared to be laid-back and calm during his time on American Idol, I sense that he also had a deep competitive instinct and will to win. I may never listen to his music in the future, but his triumph is still a good story.

Speaking of music, Scotty's first single is of course, "I Love You This Big", which I discussed earlier this week and speculated that he may not want to win, in order to not be saddled with such a corny tune. During his coronoation moment, an emotional Scotty had to sing it, but seemed to try to avoid the actual lyrics as much as possible, as he hugged family members, and a lot of other people (minus Jack Black.)

Scotty's most devoted fans though will like the song, if nothing more than for what it symbolizes to his life, and it will be a great first professional challenge for the American Idol champion to see just how much he can make the best out of that situation. For his sake, I hope he succeeds... this big?