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MAY
24
4 YEARS

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

Lauren admitted in the post-show press conference (by writing on a note pad, since she's on strict vocal rest) that she had never heard of the song Carrie chose for her, "Maybe It Was Memphis," by Pam Tillis. The song, a bluesy, romantic ballad, was the absolute correct choice for Lauren, who was still decked in a glittery, pinkish dress that was incredibly flattering. Although still hoarse, she finished strong. Laryngitis suits her.

The judges were still being pretty noncommittal about who won the round, with Randy declaring they were both "amazing." Jennifer didn't think "Check Yes or No" was dynamic enough for Scotty, and Steven Tyler made some comment about basketball and a three-point shot.

Taio Cruz came out for what was maybe the most exciting part of the evening with a drumline, if for no other reason than his use of smoke machines, lasers, Tron-like outfits and a microphone problem. This was his new single penned as part of the Coca-Cola "Perfect Harmony" promotion, and very wisely, not as a coronation single. I can't imagine either Idol recording that for release.

For Round 3, Scotty and Lauren performed what will eventually be their singles. Scotty delivered the song "I Love You This Big," and Lauren was given "Like My Mother Does," a song originally recorded by Season 7 alum, Kristy Lee Cook for her ill-fated post-Idol album.

For my ears (and believe, me, they are trained in radio, where I have worked since 1989, including the now defunct syndicated station Star Country), Scotty's single is a country smash. No doubt about it, those radio programmers that say they don't want to touch Scotty are missing out on what could be a big winner for the format, not to mention a cume grabber. However, Lauren's single is much more palatable in a multi-tiered format. It has amazing potential in adult top 40, and would sound just fine next to Colbie Callait and the Jason Aldean-Kelly Clarkson collaboration, not to mention any given David Cook single (God bless Cookie for closing out the show with his Simple Minds cover of "Don't You Forget About Me." He's, in a word, awesome.)

So, who do we throw our weight behind? THR's music editor Shirley and I choose Lauren, because she has the most crossover potential of the two. What do you think?