Lauren Alaina

"Idol": Lauren is thinner and cheery, but NOT a dumb blonde


This is the ideal ending for "American Idol": The right person wins, a nice-and-cheerful person finishes second,  both have big things ahead. My previous blog is the interview with Scotty McCreery, the winner; here's the story I sent to papers on Lauren Alaina, the runner-up:

By MIKE HUGHES

In her five months on “American
Idol,” Lauren Alaina has grown musically and shrunk physically.

Scotty McCreery; pure country, with a Puerto Rican twist


Scotty McCreery fits cozily into his new "American Idol" fame. He's a classic country guy ... albeit with a slight Puerto Rican twist. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 By MIKE HUGHES

Scotty McCreery isn't your typical,
cookie-cutter “American Idol” winner.

He sings deep, he seems casual, he
talks country. And he's one-quarter Puerto Rican.

Good news, bad news: Scotty wins, Oprah flubs


So there are happy endings, after all. Tonight -- four hours after Oprah Winfrey disappointed us with a so-so farewell -- "American Idol" got it right. Scotty McCreery, who already has the sound and the feel of a country star, was named the winner.

Yes, I worried about it (see previous blog) after Lauren Alaina got all the breaks in Tuesday's performance finale. For two straight years, my favorite -- Adam Lambert and Crystal Bowersox -- had lost.

"Idol" finale: Teens rule the world


This has been a fascinating "American Idol" season, both for what it delivered (great and diverse voices) and what it lost (most of that diversity, as the voters took over.

I'm fairly happy with this, because I think Scotty McCreery will make a worthy champion. Nashville -- which has had plenty of teen females -- is about to get a 17-ytear-old star, with an old guy's voice.

Still, it's interesting to look at what happened. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 By MIKE HUGHES

Haley: A sultry old soul, ready to rock


Here we are, encased in reality-competition finales.

The block right before this one looks at Sunday's "Celebrity Apprentice" finalists; the ones before that have my ranting about "American Idol." Now let's hear from Haley Reinhart, who was ousted (unfairly) from "Idol" Thursday; here's the story I sent to papers:

 By MIKE HUGHES

Standing on the “American Idol”
stage this week were two kids and (musically speaking) an old soul.

Two-teen "Idol"? That's one too many


1) OK, I'm really bummed about this: On tonight's "American Idol," I just heard Nicole Scherzinger sing (quite often), "Dance with your body." What, exactly, is the alternative? Dance with your luggage?

2) OK, that's not really what I'm the most bummed about. Lauren Alaina, a likable person with terribly average talent, gets to be this year's "American Idol" runner-up.

3) But really, once you've told people to dance, why would you feel you had to specify "with your body"?  Wouldn't that be assumed?

Two-teen "Idol"? That's one too many


1) OK, I'm really bummed about this: On tonight's "American Idol," I just heard Nicole Scherzinger sing (quite often), "Dance with your body." What, exactly, is the alternative? Dance with your luggage?

2) OK, that's not really what I'm the most bummed about. Lauren Alaina, a likable person with terribly average talent, gets to be this year's "American Idol" runner-up.

3) But really, once you've told people to dance, why would you feel you had to specify "with your body"?  Wouldn't that be assumed?

"Idol" finale? I'll guess Haley and Scotty


Who would have guessed this, back when "American Idol" voters dumped five straight females? And when Haley Reinhart seemed to be living in the bottom three?

Who would have imagined that Reinhart would now seem headed toward the final two?

That's the way I see it, anyway. Some thoughts about tonight:

OK, I was WAY wrong


This time, my "American Idol" prediction was way off.

I really did think James Durbin would win; unstead, he finished fourth. That's the Chris Daughtry spot, the spot for Michael Lynche, Allison Iraheta, LaToya London and Tamyra Gray; some strong talents have ended up there.

But why Durbin? Why would a guy who had it all -- extreme talent, fairly good looks and hard-luck story -- fall short?

A semi-inspired evening


Imagine that a great singer -- one with passion and power -- is given a wide-open request: Sing something that inspires you.

The result should be soul-shattering. On "American Idol," however, it is often merely kind of good. That was true tonight, just as it was four years ago, during the first inspiration night.