Scotty McCreery wins “American Idol”

17-year-old from North Carolina beats Lauren Alaina in competition's first all-country finale

Topics: American Idol,

Scotty McCreery wins "American Idol"Winner Scotty McCreery, left, hugs finalist Lauren Alaina as Jennifer Lopez hand him his trophy at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (Credit: AP)

Scotty McCreery won the “American Idol” battle of the fresh-faced country crooners Wednesday, pulling more of a record 122 million-plus viewer votes than competitor Lauren Alaina.

“I never in my wildest dreams,” said McCreery, a 17-year-old with a strikingly deep, old-soul voice that contrasts with his youth. “I’ve got to thank the Lord first … he got me here.”

McCreery of Garner, N.C., and Alaina, 16, of Rossville, Ga., represent the first all-country finale and the youngest duo ever to compete on “Idol,” which is in its 10th season.

The exuberant, big-voiced Alaina performed on Tuesday’s final sing-off despite a vocal cord injury that needed medical treatment. She received raves from the judges, who said she won the night.

But the consistently popular McCreery, who’d never been at risk of elimination, claimed the title and a record contract.

The teenager seemed overwhelmed as he took the stage for a celebratory version of “I Love You This Big,” halting to embrace his parents in the audience, Alaina and others. Then he playfully stuck his tongue out, trying to catch falling confetti.

“It felt like a dream,” McCreery said backstage in his dressing room. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet, and I don’t think it will for a while. I’m on top of the world right now.”

He expected the contest would be close after Tuesday.

“Lauren Alaina just went out there and did her thing, especially that last song,” McCreery said. “I thought she took it there. It’s been a nerve-wracking day, I can tell you that much.”

His victory continued a recent pattern: He’s the fourth male in a row to win the Fox TV contest, with 2007′s Jordin Sparks, 17, the last female “Idol.”

Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, two of the four female winners, have proved the winners with the most successful recording careers.

This season’s vote total was more than three-quarters-of-a-billion, Seacrest announced Wednesday. For Fox, it’s affirmation there’s still life in the series that’s had a long ratings reign as No. 1 but has steadily dipped in weekly viewership and seen its audience age — something that makes advertisers balk.

Last year’s season-ender, which included Simon Cowell’s farewell, drew 24 million viewers. Through 2008, the winner’s crowning routinely drew more than 30 million viewers.



McCreery commented backstage Tuesday on the loyalty of country fans, and they clearly gave the show a boost. Fox didn’t announce the number of votes for the much lower-key contest between winner Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox in 2010.

In 2009, when winner Kris Allen and Adam Lambert duked it out, more than 100 million votes were cast.

This season, Fox dropped the minimim age for contestants to 15 — Alaina’s age when she auditioned last year — which may also have brought fresh viewer interest.

The show remains a hot promotional platform, with Seacrest helping some of the visiting pop stars push either movies (Black’s new “Kung Fu Panda 2″) or a Las Vegas show (Gladys Knight). Lady Gaga, whose new album “Born this Way” is out this week, was another performer.

The grandest bid for attention came from Broadway’s troubled “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” with composers Bono and The Edge performing with the musical’s star, Reeve Carney.

Other high-wattage stars who performed Wednesday at the Nokia Theatre included Beyonce and Tony Bennett.

McCreery and Tim McGraw sang “Live Like You Were Dying,” while Underwood returned to “Idol” to pair with Alaina on “Before He Cheats.”

Judge Jennifer Lopez — draped in a scanty outfit and shaking her famous booty — took the stage to dance while husband Marc Anthony sang, turning the night into a family affair.

On Tuesday, Alaina’s tunes were Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor,” Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It was Memphis” and “Like My Mother Does,” an emotional tribute to her mother in the audience.

McCreery sang his future single, “I Love You This Big,” along with his version of Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” and George Strait’s “Check Yes or No.”

“These kids are so young … I just go, ‘Wow.’ They embody what this whole show is about,” judge Randy Jackson said backstage Tuesday.

——

AP entertainment writer Derrik Lang contributed to this story from Los Angeles.

——

Fox is a unit of News Corp.

——

Online:

http://www.americanidol.com/finale/

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>