AMERICAN IDOL S10: Scotty & Lauren’s Country Duel

by Poncho

I couldn’t believe myself. This afternoon I read somewhere that Lauren Alaina might miss the finale and Haley would have to fill in for her. Turns out Lauren blew a vocal cord while rehearsing. I felt like the worst person ever for a few moments because I actually wanted Haley to have another chance, but then I went back to my usual nicer self (I hope) and actually prayed for Lauren to get better. Gladly, she did, and went to sing on the finale. It would’ve been much more interesting with Haley there, but it would also be unfair. You know, America voted.

I’ll give it to Lauren—pulling herself up and singing with whatever limitations she might have had because of her strained voice IS very professional. But on the other hand, I expect people to vote for the best one, not to pity-power-vote for Lauren. I’ll consider the damage to her throat, but I’ll try to be just. After all, it’s the final two and one of them will take the whole enchilada.

So, let’s get to the performances.

Round one was the repeat round. The kids got to sing stuff they’ve already performed, hoping to match—or improve—their first go. I dreaded this round because so far only one person has had a better moment on his second try: Kris Allen. Anyway, this is how it went.

Scotty McCreery opened with a repeat of his performance of “Gone,” which I thought was pretty nice the first time. This one? Well, vocally it was way better, though we still can hear the places where his range ends. I applaud the song choice. Not only was it one of his best performances, but one which allowed him to power-play his corniness accordingly and was not as similar to the others he’s been singing.  He toned down the crazy faces and played the whole stage instead, even coming out from the audience. But all in all, it was underwhelming. I’ll give it a B-.

Lauren’s repeat was “Flat on the Floor,” which I also think went quite well the first time. Though it didn’t repeat the thrill it gave me, this second time also went fine. I guess Lauren likes this song because it looked like she was having fun, but I also felt like she was afraid her voice might crack (or was it my fear?). I was thinking there wasn’t much damage to her voice, until the shouty parts of the song where I could hear her stretching. Overall, it was a nice performance and I’ll give it a B.

For round two, some actual successful recording artists picked songs for the wannabes. And if anyone didn’t feel like this was Country Idol, they might’ve gotten the Grand Ole Opry feel when it was revealed George Strait (“The King of Country”) and Carrie Underwood (“The Country Robot Idol”) would be making the choices.

Strait chose “Check Yes or No” for Scotty. Now, imagine you have a cheeseburger. You throw away the bread, the meat and the veggies. What you have left, you cover in cheddar, add a pound of Velveeta, then garnish it with maize. That’s how corny and cheesy the performance was. He tried to cover it with a guitar, and kept the cheese factor locked in one place with his I’ve-been-riding-a-horse-seventeen-hours-straight stance, but…yuck! I’ll give it a C.

Underwood picked “Maybe It Was Memphis” for Lauren, who reminded me how young she is by wearing a tutu and silver cowboy boots. I don’t know if she was trying to create the trailer-park-Sailor-Moon look, but with a pair of twin ponytails, the whole “I’m a child” shtick would’ve actually made me turn off the TV! I will say again that there’s somebody either evil or clueless behind her because she couldn’t have come out more ridiculous if she performed in a Snow White costume. And her voice wasn’t strong. It just wasn’t. Blame the injury or whatever, but the performance wasn’t good at all. I’ll give it a C.

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed by this point, but the judges weren’t speaking. Yeah! If they hadn’t been tools, I wouldn’t have minded their opinions, but since we would’ve most likely heard stuff along the lines of “It was beautiful,” “You gave me the goosies,” and “You’re in it to win it,” I think the Mexican proverb is right: En boca cerrada no entran moscas. In a closed mouth no flies come in.

Anyway, for round three it was Jimmy Iovine who picked songs for them.

“I know I’m still young…,” Scotty’s third performance started, and I was like “Yeah! I know!” The song was “I Love You This Big,” and for the first time I felt something was wrong with me. I actually liked the visual part of his performance. Nay. I LOVED the visual part of the performance! It was held back, heartfelt and quite honest (even the shot of his crying mom). But whatever he was singin’, I didn’t listen. He sounded fine on a couple of verses, and then the band came in and the banshee backup singers overwhelmed his voice and I couldn’t hear him. That was sad. I will give it a B.

Lauren sang “Like My Mother Does” and when it started, I was half expecting another pageant-y performance. But then mid-performance, Little Lauren walked down the stage (cue gentlemanly Ryan Seacrest) to hug her mom. And though I don’t doubt the girl loves her mom, it felt VERY rehearsed. But it worked. Lauren lacked the health—or the expertise—to blow people away vocally, so she instead used the emotional weapons without going into overly sentimental and pitchy territory. And I’ll admit it, I got misty-eyed. On another note, one look at her mom and I suddenly forgave Lauren for all her wardrobe wrongs. I’ll give the performance a B+.

OK, so what do you think? Who will be the next American Idol?

Photo: FOX/Michael Becker



  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    May 25, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Wow, an Idol final without a single A performance. I haven’t watched this year, but I listened to stuff by the top three on iTunes, and I BELIEVE EVERY WORD YOU SAID.

  • Reply
    Laura Benedict
    May 25, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I’m just disgusted with the fact that they let her go ahead and sing. Where they came up w/ the phrase “blew out a vocal chord,” I can’t imagine. But I guess it’s like a pro football player getting his knee pumped up w/ healing steroids by a doc to finish the game. The child is only 16. If she has vocal chords left at twenty, I’ll be amazed and very happy for her.

    Scotty needs a cowboy hat. And what’s w/ the 1980s Member’s Only jacket? *sigh*

    But I’ll probably watch the finale anyway. I’m such a sucker.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Gonna miss you after idol. Maybe you can write about Simon’s new show The X Factor.
    Re the outfit…
    Think Toddlers and Tiara’s where the brat throws a temper tantrum and wants to wear her Halloween cowboy boots with her “Glitz Competition Gown”
    Someone should tell that girl that her thighs and calves are not her best asset. Lauren needs to learn the art of graceful draping.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Are we at the finale of Grand Ole Opry Idol, yet? lol!

    Was it just me or did everything sung last night sound like a country song? I wonder what Simon would have said about how country this show went. Agree with you about what you said regarding the 2 “finalists”, but I think we have to face it….the voting ballot box has been hijacked by a bunch of Country Music tweens. I will be very surprised if either of them goes anywhere, but who knows? I sure as hell can’t figure it out. Wait, that could be a country song, right? I’ll sell it to whoever wins!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I am still in shock! I do not get it! They would never let a rocker sing three rock songs in a final, or a metal head sing three….WHY? I like country just fine, but make them do something else for cryin’ out loud! I was so bored…the highlight for me was Lauren’s ballet n’ boots thing! It woke me up! I did not know whether to laugh or to cry! I don’t think I care who wins…Now that is just sad.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Naomi I know what you mean. I’m getting a few of Haley’s iTunes recordings, but none of the Top 2. That’s sad.

    Laura I guess you’re right, but according to the show, the doctors gave her thumbs up so who’s to question. I just hope she gets enough time to recover after this.

    Nan I still haven’t made my mind about watching X-Factor. So far, I haven’t watched The Voice either. But who knows? Anyway, perhaps I’ll be here next year, if PCN allows me 😀

    Reader#9 Country Music Tweens? How about ignorant-about-anything-musical tweens. I mean, they ditched Pia ahead of her time, and they chose Karen over Kendra Chantelle so…

    Paulette Ballet n’ boots! As a matter of fact, I do think THAT was the highlight of the episode. Can’t believe they needed off-camera drama to make it somewhat interesting.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      May 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      Poncho—You’re welcome to guest blog anytime. How can I deny your fans? I also want to say that Mexican proverb is very apropos and made me laugh out loud.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Ha! I totally called this one. LAMEST AI winner ever!

    Now I’m off to start my new diviner career…

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      May 26, 2011 at 1:12 am

      I don’t think he deserves the win but if it means he won’t have to bag groceries anymore, I’m happy for him.

      Thank you so much for all the AI posts, Poncho. The season was a dud but you managed to make the recaps fun.

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