'American Idol' Season Finale Recap: The Winner Is...

by Hilary Rothing, posted May 25th 2011 10:02PM
After a record-breaking 122 million votes, we have a winner in what has been one of the most hotly debated seasons in 'American Idol''s 10-year history.

With the addition of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez to the judges' panel, and record industry mogul Jimmy Iovine mentoring the Top 13 every step of the way, some fans agreed with executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, who labeled this season's contestants the most talented ever.

Still others have bemoaned the light-handed judging of Lopez, Tyler and last-standing original judge Randy Jackson. No matter how you see it, it's hard to deny 750 million votes, the total cast during this 10th outing and the most of any season of 'American Idol' ever.
Both Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery have endeared themselves to America but only one could take the crown tonight. But before we get to that, there's tons of finale pomp and circumstance to go over.

The night began with just about everyone except J.Lo and Ryan Seacrest dressed in white. Isn't Memorial Day this Monday? Maybe I'm just old fashioned...

Seacrest checked in with the crowd gathered at the UTC McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, TN to cheer on Lauren and Scotty supporters at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC. Both kids are capable of filling stadiums without winning 'American Idol,' it seems.

The Top 13 took to the stage for the first performance of the two-hour extravaganza, which would featured the likes of Bono, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Decked out in white, the finalists put on a decent performance of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." It was great to see this season's more dynamic performers, like James Durbin and Naima Adedapo, back on the 'Idol' stage again.

As rumored, James Durbin followed up the Top 13, accompanied by the band voted "least likely to ever appear on 'American Idol,'" Judas Priest. Though I've been tough on Durbin before, he was right where he belonged, screeching next to metal legend, Rob Halford, performing Priest classics "Living After Midnight' and "Breaking the Law." It was a great moment for 'Idol' and yes, for Metal, too.

In the first of three inevitable gag reels, we got to sit through a montage of Randy Jackson saying "in it to win it," over and over again. At the end of the package, Ryan suggested Randy get a new writer. Seriously, "yo, dawg" was at least funny, especially when he was addressing a sixteen-year-old girl but "in it to win it" must end with season 10.

Next up, Jacob Lusk returned to the 'Idol' stage with gospel legend, Kirk Franklin for a performance of Franklin's "I Smile." In one of the night's early surprise appearances, the legendary Gladys Knight joined Lusk and Franklin. Like James, Jacob was right where he should be, singing the type of music he loves with two legends of the genre. I wish he and James had gotten to do this all season, instead of shoehorning themselves into the ill-fitting music of Carole King and Elton John.

We all knew Casey Abrams was set to perform with Jack Black but the choice of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" was a fun surprise. It was a bit of a novelty act, which Jack Black is known for with Tenacious D. Casey definitely got to showcase his Seth Rogen side tonight. Entertaining, if extremely pitchy.

The ladies of the Top 13 emerged next, all decked out in red for a Beyonce medley that ended in "Queen B" joining the girls on stage. Though standing next to Beyonce, it's hard to measure up, Ashthon Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Thia Megia, Haley Reinhart, Naima Adedapo, Pia Toscano and Lauren Alaina did well.

The second gag reel of the night was dedicated to Steven Tyler, so you know there was plenty of material there. Though a good portion of the expletives and underage cat calling was bleeped out, it was a fitting tribute to Steven's colorful 'Idol' run.

3rd place finisher, Haley Reinhart took to the stage next to perform "Steppin' Out With My Baby," joined by Tony Bennett. The eighty-four-year-old superstar sounded great next to Haley and even danced with her during a musical interlude.

Next, it was time to roast J.Lo. The angle here? Contestants throwing themselves at the pop diva. Old favorites like Tim Halperin, Jovanny Barreto and Tiffany Rios reappeared in the auditions in which they thrust themselves upon the alter of J.Lo. At the end of the clip, Lopez appeared teary-eyed as she stood for the applause inside the Nokia Theater.

Suddenly it was time to go back to 1995 as Thia, Naima, Karen and Ashthon joined TLC and 'Lil Jon on stage for a performance of songs at least fifteen-years-old. Nothing against TLC but "Waterfalls" is older than Thia Megia.

The man...errr, boy of the evening, Scotty McCreery was up next, performing Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," alongside McGraw, himself. Scotty held his own onstage next to the big man, and even sounded better than McGraw, at times.

In another moment of levity, 'Idol' audition punchline, "Big" Joe Repka appeared in a pre-taped package saluting the "unsung heroes" of season 10. We got to see Matt "Big Stats" Frankel again, the "chicken dance girl," as well as the blonde chick who wouldn't stop singing. Sadly, no Yoji Pop.

J.Lo's hubby, Marc Anthony was up next, performing "Aguanile," with Sheila E. on percussion. Lopez inevitably joined her husband on stage, vibrating her back end in rhythm to his vocals. If you got it...

Another pre-taped package followed Mr. and Mrs. J.Lo's performance. This time it was James and Casey arguing over who suffered the "most shocking" elimination of the season. The boys had fun with this one but it was Pia Toscano, appearing at the end of the skit draped in a banner proclaiming her's "the most shocking elimination," who had the last laugh.

The Top 13 guys were on deck, next, performing a medley of Tom Jones' hits, including "She's a Lady" and "What's Up, Pussycat?" Jones joined the boys on stage, towards the end of the performance. There's no denying Tom Jones' charisma, even at a youthful looking seventy and the guys seemed to be having a blast with the Vegas legend.

Scotty and Lauren starred in the last Ford music video, which featured a montage of the automobile manufacturer's previous sponsored clips from the season. Afterwards, Seacrest announced that the two finalists were asked to invite a teacher from each of their schools to the finale. Lauren went with her high school principal while Scotty chose his chorus teacher. Each will get a Ford Focus courtesy of 'Idol,' while Scotty and Lauren will get to drive off in the Ford car of their choice. That is if they have their driver's licenses yet.

In one of the most anticipated performances of the night, Lady Gaga, looking like a cross between "Slave Leia" and Queen Amidala, stood atop a rock formation on stage to perform her latest single, "The Edge of Glory." It was one of the more artistic, interpretive performances 'Idol' has ever seen, with Gaga and a male dancer falling off the cliff into a puff of smoke to end the number.

A natural follow-up to Lady Gaga's left-field theatrics? Lauren Alaina and Carrie Underwood singing about "white trash karaoke" in a duet of the season four winner's hit, "Before He Cheats." With so many comparisons to her 'Idol' idol, Lauren did her best with it but came up looking a little "less than" next to Carrie.

'Idol's' definitely honed its sense of humor, as evidenced by a clip featuring the Top 13 ranking on the teenage finalists. Stefano cracked wise about 'American Juniors' being cancelled and Casey accused the two of not being able to read yet. Glad these kids can laugh at themselves.

As we neared the moment of truth, Beyonce performed her latest, "1 Plus 1," which culminated in her screaming at those in the front row to "make love to me." A weird song for Beyonce and definitely an odd choice for the last moments of an 'American Idol' finale.

Bono, The Edge and Reeve Carney were up next to perform (and heavily promote) 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Thankfully, no one was injured in the performance, though musically, it was a bit painful.

The last performance of the night came from Steven Tyler, with the Aerosmith classic "Dream On." It's one of the band's best and thus felt a bit empty without Joe Perry and the boys backing him up.

Finally, it was time to "turn the lights down" low and get to the results. Your 'American Idol' season 10 winner? Scotty McCreery!

A tearful Scotty (barely) performed his new single, "I Love You This Big" as confetti rained down inside the Nokia Theater. A graceful Lauren Alaina seemed to take the second place finish well. And we all know by now, it's not always the winner of 'American Idol' that goes on to greatness.

What do you think of Scotty McCreery as the season 10 'American Idol?' Let us know in the comments, don't forget to vote in our poll and for more on the finale, check out an all-new 'Something Pitchy'!

Want to hear Scotty's first single? Head over to AOL Music for the exclusive first listen.

'American Idol' returns for its 11th season this January on FOX.

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If you got haters!!! this song is for you just click this link http://youtu.be/K_I5NIrfV5M and press play to make the haters go away!!!!

June 02 2011 at 2:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melba Colwell


May 30 2011 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marty Hunter


May 30 2011 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i love scotty and glad he got picked BUT i wanted james to win sooo bad

May 30 2011 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Usually I try to read through some of the comments from others, but not this time. I absolutely loved Scotty McReady ever since the auditions and I was extremely happy for him to become season 10's American Idol. To all the people who disagree, well that's you freedom of choice. To the people making jokes and ugly comments, I have to say learn to spell and get some class, come on down south and we will be glad to share what class really means. Congrats to Scotty and Lauren.

May 28 2011 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Scottie he is the one for sure he has a great voice, and I can see him in the next country awards

May 28 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

American Idol lost a fan when they allowed Pia Toscano to be voted off!! She was clearly the best talent on the show!! I will never watch that show with it,s flawed voting again!!

May 28 2011 at 10:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

White is worn after Easter. Memorial Day is the beginning of summer vacations. It was fashionably correct to wear white.

May 28 2011 at 12:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I am appalled that American Idol had Gaga perform her rated R vocal with all the antics with the male dancer. This is suppose to be a family show. I was so uncomfortable watching this--shame!!!!
I would be happy if Steven Tyler found another job. I'm tired of his "mistakes" that have to be bleeped constantly. Can't he get a grip.
I have never voted before but when two judges said that Lauren had it hands down, I voted for Scotty. Why can't they keep their opinions to themselves???

May 27 2011 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jojoosborn's comment

i loved steven tyler well im a rock fan so a love his music and loved his mistakes used to hate ameriacan idol intill he came on and i love pop to so let lady gaga do anything wit her dancer i dont care

May 30 2011 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi There how are you?.

May 27 2011 at 10:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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