America Crowns Next Singing Idol; Scotty McCreery Win No Surprise

Manila Bulletin, May 26, 2011 | Go to article overview

America Crowns Next Singing Idol; Scotty McCreery Win No Surprise


MANILA, Philippines - It is only 8 a.m. but some people are already up and about, fussing over their coffee and perhaps some breakfast so they could sit in front of their TV sets without any more distractions. Across the globe, two teenage singers are about to find out what fate-and the decision of the American voting public-holds for them.

For a handful of media and special guests, Greenwich holds a special live viewing worthy of a Manny Pacquiao boxing fight-an exclusive screening at Greenbelt Cinema 4, no less. As partners to Star World for the "American Idol" airing, Greenwich-which even had several TV commercials built around the "AI" theme played up by their celebrity endorsers like John Lloyd Cruz, Mikaela Lagdameo and Lloyd Zaragoza, among others-has kept the buzz around the show going, even as it culminates early today, May 26 (Philippine time), with the crowning of the singing champion.

The latest season of "American Idol" was written off before it even began back in January, but has bounced back tremendously. "American Idol" season 10 came after what many perceived to be a huge setback following the exit of judge Simon Cowell. A year before that, popular judge Paula Abdul also left the show when her contract ended, apparently after negotiations for a substantial raise fell apart.

But Season 10 weathered all doom-and-gloom predictions. The new line-up of judges-with pop star Jennifer Lopez and rock singer Steven Tyler sitting alongside the only remaining original judge Randy Jackson-also proved to be a hit with viewers. More so Tyler, whose sometimes off-kilter remarks have made him, believe it or not, a heartthrob of sorts even to the shows young fans because of his rarely filtered irreverence and rock star appeal.

But down the wire, the attention is focused not on the judges and not on the hype, but on two individuals whose pop star dreams are about to come true. Rossville, Georgia's Lauren Alaina, 16, and Garner, North Carolina's Scotty McCreery, 17, have emerged as this season's top contenders after a nearly-full season of quirky Tylerisms, some humdrum performances, a very early save (Casey Abrams) only three weeks into the competition, a stunning exit (early favorite Pia Toscano), a little metal mayhem (courtesy of fourth place finisher James Durbin), a bit of Led Zeppelin (thank you, Haley Reinhart, who sadly only finished third) and the youngest Final Two the "Idol" stage has ever seen.

Coming into the final performance show on May 24 (US time), Scotty seemed to be the shoo-in winner, he of the strange mix of country western Elvis swagger and, surprisingly, Puerto Rican ancestry. Sounding mature for his age, Scotty immediately set himself apart from the rest of the contestants, generating enough fan fascination to help keep him off the Bottom Three seat throughout the whole season.

Lauren, on the other hand, came in with laryngitis and was even reported to have been "on the verge of having to remove herself from the finale," noted The New York Times. But after three songs each, the judges' consensus was that Lauren had won the rounds, thanks in large part to the emotionally charged delivery of her original piece, "Like My Mother Does," wherein, in what critics described as a "brilliant production move, or contrived even for 'Idol'," she went off the stage to sing the song to her crying mother in the audience. If this didn't get the moms voting, nothing will.

Beating 125,000 audition hopefuls and surviving tough competition and months of competition rounds, culminating in the show's first-ever all-country showdown, America finally chose its new idol. After 120 million votes-and a quarter of a billion votes throughout the whole season, as host Ryan Seacrest announced-the title is finally bestowed on frontrunner Scotty McCreery. …

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