[photogallerylink id=30174 align=left]Earlier this season, American Idol hopeful Lauren Alaina sang a beautiful rendition of Martina McBride’s “Anyway”. It was fitting that last night Lauren went out and faced the music despite having torn a vocal chord. She sang her best anyway, but it won’t be enough to win, and that’s too bad.
They say Scotty McCreery will be this year’s American Idol. They say that even though he was out performed and out gutted by Lauren Alaina, who sang despite having suffered a serious vocal chord injury. And that’s too bad, because when it came down to it, Lauren showed heart, and that has to mean something in the country music vocabulary of hard knocks and dirty socks.
McCreery and Alaina dueled in the live finale at LA’s Nokia Theater, despite the fact that third place finisher Haley Reinhart was standing by in case Alaina couldn’t go. The show was more fast paced than past finales, giving little time to the judges, and most of the time to the performers. McCreery had ripped through his reprise of Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” before any of the standard Idol time wasting had begun, leading me to think “Why don’t they do this every week?”
Alaina countered with her reprise of Carrie Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor”, showing a few signs of her vocal troubles. Neither performer was all too animated, and both seemed cautious and perhaps overwhelmed by the bigness of the night. It’s funny to me, because they did a whole thing on how cool Scotty is, and how confident he seems. Yet, when I look in his eyes, I see the scared little kid that Lauren is.
Round two, the judges gave to Lauren, for her take on “Maybe It Was Memphis”, which is where you could really hear her start to push her voice a little. Scotty was pitch perfect with his run through “Check Yes Or No”, but he lacks stage presence, keeping his moves limited to a few standard cliches.
The third song, also know as “the coronation song” or “the single that will be released on iTunes right after you win”, was dead even. Scotty, looking every bit like a the country crooner, shot through a song called “I Love You This Big”. Ho-hum. Lauren, really stretching her voice now, sang “Like My Mother Does”. Her outfit was gorgeous, but I couldn’t help thinking that she looked like the kid who was coerced into singing at the prom, she looked more than a little uncomfortable.
I’m not sure if I like the idea of the finalists singing hits rather than songs written for the occasion. Some of those songs, as we know, have been real stinkers, but this way isn’t conducive to isolating the artist from their desired niche. As a person who doesn’t pay close attention to country music, I couldn’t tell how much the artists were just giving good karaoke or really selling themselves.
Here’s the tough part — who do I choose? I’m not a fan of Scotty’s particular brand of old school country. It’s seems very limiting. Lauren has the potential to become a crossover artist in the manner of Carrie Underwood, her hero, but she is years away from developing that kind of steely presence on the stage. Lauren won my vote simply because she had every reason to fold last night and she didn’t. To gut it out bad voice and all took a lot fo nerve, and she may have shown me a will I didn’t think she had.
Scotty, on the other hand, still bothers me. He seems to me to be a kid who is in over his head, and there’s still the memory of his going along with the crowd when booting the chubby kid out of his band back in Hollywood. Even though he asked forgiveness, his quick decision to go along with the crowd, leads me to believe he’s little self-involved and dismissive of those of lesser talent. Oops! Maybe he’s cut throat enough for the music business after all!
A montage of all of last night’s performances:
Scotty’s coronation song “I Love You This Big”
And Lauren’s “Like My Mother Does”