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“Everyone looks like they’re going to cry,” Lauren Alaina told a room full of reporters at the Nokia Theater on Wednesday night. A day after a record 122 million votes were cast, America crowned Scotty McCreery the new American Idol, but unlike the press room, Alaina had a great attitude about it. “I didn’t lose; I came in second place.”
Indeed, Alaina made her way through a long season that ended with questions about whether or not the teen would even take the stage Tuesday night. According to Lauren, her problems with asthma and smoke contributed to vocal problems this week. She managed to sing, but not to win.
“I knew Scotty was gonna win,” she said. “I knew in my heart and I accepted it. … I couldn’t pick a more perfect person to get second place to. I know that’s cheesy, but he’s my best friend.”
McCreery was more than complimentary about Lauren, too, and felt that she had a legitimate shot after Tuesday’s performances.
“Last night, watching her sing I thought she could really take this thing and run a long way with it,” he said after the finale. “In that moment I kept saying, ‘Lauren’s got this. She’s such a sweetheart, and we’ve grown so close.'” Not that close, of course. While Lauren played coy about rumors that they were dating, Scotty shot it down, calling his pal a “joker.”
Asked whether he feels that he is a different kid from his audition, Scotty said he never imagined when watching the show a year ago that he would be standing in front of a televised audience of millions as the champ.
“I think I’ve changed as a performer and as a singer,” he said. “As a person I’ve stayed the same in my heart. … This is what I was meant to do.”
Still, he admitted that the finale was scarier than he thought.
“This was more intimidating than the hometown visit with 30,000,” he said. “It’s intimidating, I’ll tell you what.”
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