American Idol Journal – Week 12 THE FINALS!

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

It’s down to two and both needed to bring their A-game tonight.  I’ll have some comments in a bit about some of the subtle and then not so subtle messages going on during the show, you may not agree with the things I am going to point out, but you’d be wrong because these observations will survive the scrutiny of experts.

I wasn’t sure if tonight was going to be high school prom King and Queen crowning or the American Idol finale we’ve come to expect. Scotty came out looking a bit dressed down, but it made sense after he sang his first song.  Lauren looked ready to take on the challenge of the evening.

Scotty McCreery, from mid-season he was the one to beat.  His first two song this evening were done at a fully professional level, even the way he worked the stage.  He gets high marks for the first two, however, the song selected for him to do as a ‘first’ single ended up being a tough outing for Scotty. It’s not easy to describe for folks that don’t sing, exactly what the challenge Scotty was having… and not fairing so well.  Between some of the instrumentation, the melody lines and the words sung at certain points, Scotty lost his fix on the note to sing at a few points in the song.  Simply stated, he was uncharacteristically pitchie. Not terribly, but for me at least it was noticeable.

Lauren Alaina was not brilliant the entire night either.  On her first song their was one phrase ending that she always rushed and cut off, it happened four times in the song. To her credit though she was doing it so she could hit the bigger pickup coming next.  A trade off that was likely lost on most of her fans, it probably won’t cost her votes. Her second song started out in her lower range and stayed their too long for my taste, she is best at vocals in the mid and higher ranges. Her final song turned out very well, it wasn’t an American Idol ‘moment’ like some would have you believe, but it was solid on all fronts.

Unlike in most of the past 9 seasons, both contestants had very well written song to perform, rare kudos to the producers for those songs.  I thought Lauren ended on a better performance than Scotty.

Let’s spend a few sentences on the subtle messages through out the show.  It was sad to see and I’m sorry to say, very unfair to Scotty McCreery.

First, the show spent a long time discussing the ’emergency’ this afternoon because ‘poor’ Lauren blew out her voice during practice.  It’s part of the culling process to hit the stage at your best.  Instead of letting this drama play out Ryan made a big deal of the challenge she was facing BEFORE the show even started, thus sending a not so subtle message that if she came up short in her vocal performances that it was really NOT her fault.  Then bringing the DOCTOR on stage to describe all the effort put into giving her strained, blown out voice a chance to recover was equally prejudicial. (By the way, I have no trouble with the fact they assisted her, just that they made it public, giving her the sympathy vote.)

Second, after her first performance, which was not stellar (see my critiques above) she received a standing ovation from two of the judges (‘Niffer and Randy), again sending the message that she is somehow better for not doing terribly on the song because of her self induced ‘handicap’. Once again I have to ask, are we to vote the contestant that merely doesn’t ‘blow it’?

Third, and final, during her third song she was fully assisted off the stage by Ryan and ushered over to her mother in Miss American-like fashion. If she decided to go off stage, it’s HER risk, instead they wanted to save her. Another successfully delivered message of ‘her importance’.

I could add that in past seasons, the judges still provided honest feed back to the finalist during the show, this year they would do nothing of the kind! Scotty should have been called out for his less than perfect final performance, and Lauren should have been held accountable for her first song short comings.

I walk away believing tonight is the pinnacle of the efforts to make Lauren Alaina the season 10 winner.  She was given an unfair advantage for most of the season all because she was a ‘sensitive girl’.

I hope that in the end the votes separating the winner from the runner up will be so significant that my analysis can be easily ignored. If the vote is close, no matter who wins, I will walk away believing all the special handling of Lauren had a favorable impact on her fortunes.

Despite Scotty‘s poor third song, he was in fact better on the first two.  I’m sticking with Scotty as the winner. See you tomorrow.

Thanks for reading this far.