Lauren Alaina may have pulled a huge upset over Scotty McCreery on "American Idol" tonight, giving us a great moment when she sang directly to her mom in one of this show's best finale performances ever.
It all came after a doctor told us she blew out one of her vocal chords in rehearsal; now it's up to the fans to vote based on tonight, and not their preconceived notions of who's best.
Too bad "American Idol" sold Scotty and Lauren out before that. The judges weren't allowed to critique them right after their first two songs, which saved time that the show used to cram in more commercials -- and a sponsored song.
All that into a finale that had already been cut to an hour and moved to a new night just so they can showcase another program (about fake high school singers) afterward.
The real high schoolers deserved better. Both are good kids who sang their hearts out; but instead of praise or simple feedback, we got a quick cut to more commercials after their first two songs.
Not that the judges has anything constructive to say. They continued their season-long policy of sloppy praise, with sweet-sounding but unfulfilling words. Although they did correctly call Lauren the overall winner tonight.
Here's how I ranked the six songs. Put your thoughts into the comments:
1) Lauren Alaina 's "Like My Mother Does" was one of the best performances of the season. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when she hugged her mom and sang directly to her. Sincerity, strong vocals and huge emotion.
2) Scotty McCreery's "I Love You This Big," was maybe his best performance in weeks -- simple, sincere and somewhat mesmerizing.
3) Lauren Alaina got a big boost from Carrie Underwood, who picked "Maybe It Was Memphis" for her to sing -- she was heartfelt, owned the stage and showed off her soaring voice. Has really come a long way.
4) Lauren Alaina's "Flat on the Floor" had fun energy, even if her weakened voice kept her from hitting the big notes.
5) Scotty McCreery opened the night with a forgettable "Gone" -- he showed off some attitude but the song never let him connect with the audience.
6) George Strait picked his own "Check Yes or No" for Scotty McCreery's second song. Not much to the song, and Scotty wasn't on stage long enough to do anything with it.