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MAY
24
4 YEARS

'American Idol' Recap: Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina Stick to Country in Battle for Season 10 Crown

The winner of Fox's singing competition will be revealed Wednesday night.

scotty mccreery lauren alaina finale 2
Michael Becker / FOX

With what was possibly the most drama-prone season ever -- from Casey Abrams' medical problems at season's start to his dramatic save, the elimination of Pia Toscano to the rise and fall of Haley Reinhart -- we entered Tuesday night's show with yet another dose of melodrama: Lauren Alaina had lost her voice in rehearsal. As of 15 minutes before show time, it was still unclear whether she would indeed perform, as rumors floated that Haley had rehearsed "Bennie and the Jets" and was ready to go on in her place.

Of course, when the curtain rose (with a video package showing our Idols performing as children -- Carrie Underwood and David Cook were so cute and talented, weren't they?), it was revealed that Lauren was given plenty of medication and that her show would go on. I sure hope they didn't shoot that poor child up with steroids. But this also begged the question: was it all just a ratings grab? And are the producers trying to position a surprise win for Lauren versus the seemingly unstoppable Scotty, who quite obviously did not shave his head for the finale, per Jennifer Lopez's request. Good call, but let's see what happens Wednesday.

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The judges refrained from commentary until after the rounds were over, and honestly I didn't really miss it. If I hear Randy Jackson proclaim that a contestant is "in it to win it" one more time ... I mean, really, it's the finals -- who doesn't want to win at this point?

First up was Scotty, who had won last week's coin toss and deferred to Lauren. She chose to go second. Scotty trotted out his version of Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" from Top 5 week. The upbeat song was a great showcase for Scotty's natural stage charisma, but it started out rough, improving as it edged toward the higher registered chorus. Rocking the leather jacket again, he clearly looked like he was having fun with the audience, who ate it up.

Lauren came out to a sympathetic crowd clearly in her corner. Wisely, she rocked the house one more time with Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor." Lauren really wants to win, and she is channeling Carrie every which way in order to do it. Despite the obvious hoarseness of her voice, the 16-year-old Georgia native put everything she had into the song, and in our opinion, won the round, despite Randy Jackson's assessment that Scotty had a "slight edge."

Round 2 featured the selections from the two teens' personal Idols. George Strait chose "Check Yes or No" for Scotty, a song that tells of a love that began in the third grade, which was, well, not that long ago for Scotty. The 17-year-old from Garner, N.C., performed it with a guitar,and was decked out once again in plaid flannel. Not one of Scotty's strongest performances, by a long shot, as it was a little shaky in parts, and I'm not sure a midtempo selection was the best song choice for him.