It was only the second year of the fan-voted country music competition, but the stars weren't shy at showing up to the sophomore event. Fan support certainly helped former 'American Idol' contestants from the first season to now.
An estimated 50 million viewers were watching as country crooner McCreery was revealed to be lip-syncing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Meanwhile, Alaina can now join the pantheon of singers -- yes, we mean you Christina Aguilera, Cyndia Lauper and ... um ... Scotty McCreery -- who've flubbed the national anthem on live TV.
In the next few months, McCreery will be singing the National Anthem at Game 1 of the World Series and going on the road with Brad Paisley. Five days after his CD comes out, he turns 18. "We're actually going to have a big concert, CD release birthday bash," he told Ann Curry.
Though a track list has not yet been revealed, we do know that Scotty's breakout hit, 'I Love You This Big,' will be on the album. The tune made Billboard history earlier this year, leaving the North Carolina native pleasantly shocked.
"That's very humbling for me," he told The Boot. "Just a week after 'Idol,' I heard about it in an interview and I was taken aback. I'm looking forward to what else I can do, if I can work my tail off to get there! If I can break another record, we'll see, but I've gotta just work, work work."
After this year's 'American Idol' finalists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery made the top two, life has changed for the teenagers in the last few months. Scotty was named this year's 'American Idol' winner, and Lauren the runner-up, and both have been focusing entirely on their careers ever since. First, they kicked off the American Idols LIVE! Tour with fellow finalists from the year, and now they're working on their debut albums. AOL TV's friends at The Boot sat down with both Scotty and Lauren before the Nashville stop of the trek to get the scoop on their rapid rise to fame, along with Lauren's recovery from her big fall.
Where were you this time last year?
Scotty: At this time last year, I would have been on the baseball field. We have spring ball for the school, and summer ball, getting ready for the school. So, I would have been on the baseball field pitching away.
And where are you a year later?
Scotty: Yesterday, I was in the studio, working away and recording some songs for the new album. We've got two or three done. I've definitely been writing. For this album, I don't think any of my original stuff will be on it, because it's happened so quick for me, and it's rapid-fire. We're definitely still writing and jamming out on the bus.
Also in that short time, the bashful baritone saw his name go down in the history books, as his debut single, 'I Love You This Big,' made the highest Billboard Hot Country Songs chart debut by a new artist since 1984. That's nine years before he was even born. Yes, all these accomplishments to his name, and Scotty McCreery is still in high school.
AOL TV's friends at The Boot caught up with the 17-year-old in Nashville during CMA Music Fest to talk about the obligations that come with winning 'Idol' and why he thinks country music prevailed on the show. They also quizzed Garner's most famous boy next door about his adoring female fans and the country icons he adores himself, one of whom he met for the first time in a somewhat embarrassing situation.
What kind of pressure comes with having won 'American Idol'?
It's a lot of pressure. Just the title of 'American Idol' is something that people can look up to. I'm not Saint Scott, I'm not Mr. Perfect but I want to be that role model. I want to go down the same road that Carrie Underwood did -- kinda separate myself from 'Idol.' Because when you think of Carrie Underwood now, you don't think "'American Idol' Season Four winner," you just think "Carrie Underwood." I want to cross that bridge. There's a lot of pressure and work that goes into it, but I'm looking forward to it.
McCreery and Alaina appeared together on the show and were shown a photo of McCreery awkwardly kissing the side of Alaina's face. McCreery claimed he was trying to back away. Ann Curry asked them how they are staying grounded after becoming so successful so quickly. Alaina credited their faith.
"We're good friends," McCreery said. "I mean really, we're like brother and sister." Kelly Ripa didn't necessarily buy the dodge. "My husband and I used to say that about each other, too," she said.
McCreery followed his interview with a rendition of his single, 'I Love You This Much,' apparently not directed at anyone in particular.
Host Jay Leno and fellow guest Piers Morgan began by asking Lauren about her relationship with 'Idol' champ Scotty McCreery. After insisting that they're just friends, Lauren summed-up the situation: "Everyone wants us to like each other but we just can't seem to do it!"
Then, discussing this week's 'American Idol' finale, Morgan spoke from experience as a veteran competition show judge and told Lauren: "I thought you were the better singer."
And that's when she landed the zinger. "I tried out for your show and didn't get it. Twice!" As Morgan reeled in surprise, she repeated that yes, she auditioned for 'America's Got Talent' -- not just once, but twice -- and "I didn't make it past the first round."
Lauren Alaina's final performance on 'American Idol' last night, a duet with her 'Idol' idol Carrie Underwood, wasn't short on emotions. The pair sang the country vixen's "Before He Cheats," showing that runner-up Alaina can hold her own with the biggest of stars.
Over the past few weeks, 16-year-old Chattanooga, Tenn. native has made a name for herself as quite the Southern chanteuse, pulling influence from Carrie Underwood to Faith Hill. The singer's stage presence and vocal prowess has been undeniable, as the teen can hit the highest notes with grace and precision. When she sang her country single 'Like My Mother Does,' she inspired judge Steven Tyler to say "The first time I saw you I thought you were my 'American Idol,' and now I think America will find it to be true." Take a listen to 'Like My Mother Does' below, premiering exclusively at AOL Music.
His performance of 'Gone' by Montgomery Gentry showed off the Carolinian's vocal range from Southern baritone to country-fried tenor. McCreery also hit all the right notes on his first single 'I Love You This Big,' a classic-sounding country tune, prompting Idol judge Jennifer Lopez to say McCreery was a "beautiful storyteller" and he facilitates the song with his heartfelt emotion.
Now McCreery is offering fans an exclusive first listen of his new single, 'I Love You This Big,' exclusively through AOL Music.
McCreery told 'Entertainment Weekly' that, "[It] feels absolutely amazing. I mean, I'm on top of the world right now. It's just a moment I'll never forget."
The 17-year old said that while he had allowed himself to dream of winning the title, he'd managed to push those thoughts to one side and concentrate instead on the competition.
"You've got to control that. You've got to focus on what's ahead and focus on the song you're singing that week. Luckily, it's gotten me here."
They both gave it all they had, bringing us two new songs at the end of the performance night that we could both see as hits in country music radio. In fact, as far as their career potential goes, this result almost doesn't matter.
The night was so packed with special guests and performances from all the Top 13 Idols from Season 10 that by the time Ryan said to dim the lights, we couldn't believe it was already time to find out who'd won.
Alaina is reportedly suffering from laryngitis, and producers were so concerned about the state of her voice yesterday that recently booted contestant Haley Reinhart was brought in as a last-minute substitute in case she couldn't perform.
Luckily, she didn't have to withdraw, but the show's on-site physician reported that she "blew out one of her vocal chords" during rehearsal, and that he "gave her a lot of medicine" to help her perform.
According to Access Hollywood, the strain placed on her voice meant that Alaina had to resort to communicating via pen and paper at the post-show press conference last night. Her rival, Scotty McCreery, gallantly lent a hand, reading her notes aloud to the assembled reporters.
The final round of singing featured new songs that would become the respective singles of Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, should they win the competition. But we have a sneaking suspicion both songs will get released, anyway.
McCreery was given 'Love You This Big,' which was a little kitschy in the title and premise, but allowed him to showcase both the low end and the higher end of his register; a fact that was appreciated by judge Randy Jackson.
The 'American Idol' Season 10 finale airs Wednesday, 8PM ET on FOX.
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