You know, the perfect capper to this nicey-nice, non-judgmental season of AI would be to just crown both Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina the co-winners. I mean, it is the 21st century, the era of "EVERYONE GETS A GOLD STAR!" And while I'm not a fan of that mentality, I would have been on board with skipping tonight's hour-long snoozefest to just hand these kids each a blue ribbon, a Ford Festiva and book them an opening slot on Keith Urban's and Taylor Swift's tours, respectively. But we're not getting off that easy.
Making tonight's finale even more unbearable is the knowledge that the judges and producers already determined back during the initial auditions that Lauren would be this year's winner. So let it be written. So let it be done.
And just how has the deck been stacked in Lauren's favor tonight? Let me count the ways...
- Apparently, Scotty won the coin toss to determine their singing order, yet deferred to Lauren like a good Southern gentleman. Yeah. Are we sure he wasn't encouraged to defer to her, should he win the toss? I imagine some producer pulled him aside beforehand and was like, "Hey, kid. You're gonna get your record contract, but you need to step aside for now. The girl is winning. So, whatever happens in that coin toss, make sure she gets the pimp spot."
- There was news that Lauren had lost her voice and might have to be replaced by the second runner-up, Haley Reinhart. But come show time, Lauren was standing onstage, proclaiming her determination to get through this. They even brought a doctor out to let everyone know that she "blew out a vocal chord," but thanks to plenty of drugs, she'll be fine! And, as always, you must wait until the show is over before calling in with your pity votes!
- Scotty's potential single is a complete piece of shit, while Lauren's is an ode to her mother and, more specifically, all the mothers out there with unlimited text messaging and/or autodialers.
Round 1 - Contestants' Favorite Songs from the Season
Round 2 - The Idols' Idols' Picks
Round 3 - New Songs/Coronation Singles
Scotty McCreery kicks the show off with a retread of Montgomery Gentry's "Gone." Whaaa??? How can he not do babylockthemdoors as his fave? I know he didn't actually perform it during the live rounds, but that's a minor technicality. I actually find myself liking this performance better than the first time he did it. Or maybe I'm just thawing to Dubya Magoo because I'm not a fan of The Lauren Alaina Show.
In Round 2, Scotty performs one of his idol's songs—George Strait's "Check Yes or No"—picked by the man himself. It's nothing amazing. What is amazing is that this kid hasn't run out of plaid shirts yet.
Speaking of nothing spectacular, Scotty's last number is the original song, "I Love You This Big." If saddling Scotty with a song that sounds like it was written by a toddler while clips of him mostly crying play behind him isn't sabotage, I don't know what is.
Lauren Alaina's first song is Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor," which she performs clad in one of Liza Minnelli's bingo outfits. Her voice is straining a bit in parts, but that's just because she's soooooo braaaaave, y'all!
Lauren also picks Carrie as her idol, so Carrie gets to pick Lauren's second song: Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis." Maybe Lauren should have let Carrie pick her outfit, too, instead of taking the stage dressed as Vegas Baby Prostitute Barbie. Terrible fashion aside, Lauren's vocals are pretty good through most of this. Her voice cracks again when she tries to go for the power notes but that's just because she's SOOOOOO BRAAAAAAVE! Uhhh mah gahhhh, y'all! Laryngitis is like a tornado and Lauren's byoootiful voice is totally like a brick church that nuthin' can knock down!!
And now for the pièce de résistance—Lauren's single (a Kristy Lee Cook cast-off), "Like My Mother Does," which is for the moms, y'all. It's for her mom and your mom and your mom's mom and, if you're a mom, then it's for YOU most of all. Mama Suddeth cries and throws her hand in the air like she's at a faith healer. Concerned that people don't realize that LAUREN IS TOTALLY A GOLDEN CHILD WHO IS SERENADING THE WOMAN WHO BROUGHT HER INTO THIS WORLD, Seacrest helps her down the steps (where was he when Haley needed him?) so that she can sing it two inches away from her mama's face. They hug. They cry. Dad cries. Surprisingly, J.Lo does not cry. Jacob Lusk looks confused. He's probably thinking, if Lauren doesn't win tonight, it won't be because she sang badly, it will be because Americans hate their mothers.
Tonight has been awfully boring. You know it's bad when the most exciting moment is Scotty's googly-eyed performance of "Gone." Taio Cruz's performance of the fan-written song, "Positive" was kind of pointless. Not even the laser show and now-mandatory LED-lit backup dancers could make it the least bit interesting.
To make room for as many commercials as possible, there was no judge feedback (not that we ever need it) after Round 1. After Round 2, Randy and J.Lo both awarded the first round to Scotty and the second round to Lauren. Steven gave both to Lauren "because she's prettier." Off in the distance, a dawg is heard to bark THEY'RE BOTH IN IT TO WIN IT.
However, Round 3 makes it clear that while both may be in it, only one can win it—and that's the one who sang the song about mothers. She must win the whole mother loving thing. Steven reminds us that he picked Lauren as his American Idol from the first time he laid ears on her. (As if we'd forgotten.) And now, he says, America will agree. I'm sure they will. Or the votes will just be thrown out and the producers will nod America's collective head for it.
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