Published on May 20th, 2011 | by Melody Simpson8
‘American Idol’ Review: And Then There Were Two Country Finalists
This week on American Idol, over 95 million votes were cast for the final two contestants the season. This number marks the third-highest number of votes in the show’s history and the highest number of votes ever for a non-finale episode! People really came out to show their support!
But before the results were announced, footage of the finalists getting a secret VIP screening of JJ Abrams’ new film, Super 8 was shown. It did not seem as though any of them were huge JJ Abrams fans, which is a shame because that would have been an opportunity of a lifetime to be at Bad Robot Productions with JJ Abrams for Super 8 of all things! Abrams also gave each of the finalists (which at the time included James Durbin) a Super 8 camera to film their visits home! Talk about a keepsake! The first footage shown was of Haley Reinhart, whose fans came out in the rain for her welcome home weekend. Following that initial welcome, there were two high school parades as well as a concert at the racetrack with her father on the guitar again. Watching Haley play a set with her dad was just as sweet as watching it happen the first time on the Idol stage.
“I packed my bags on this very bed for Hollywood week. Hollywood seems like light years and light years away. But now I’m here in top 3. Who would have dreamt it?” – Scotty
Scotty was next seen visiting his home town, where aside from home and the high school visit, he also visited a radio station and the grocery store where he used to work. If the first time viewers saw Scotty crying duirng his visit home didn’t cause a few teary eyes across America, his visit at the grocery store sure did it. What an incredible moment, to come back home a star and have that moment captured at your past job. He was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and that was so sweet to see. Scotty got the works. He really did. At his local concert, country artist, Josh Turner surprised him while Scotty was singing Turner’s song on stage! But each home town visit became even more emotional than the next, as Lauren Alaina came home to a grand welcome but also to the devastation of the recent storms in the South. Aside from the works as well as being awarded her own day in her city and throwing the first pitch at a baseball game, the most significant moment of Lauren’s visit definitely seemed to be visiting a young boy who saved his family during the tornadoes. That’s when the tears strolled down my face. Talk about perspective. Winning American Idol is great but family and safety are more important, so it was quite emotional watching Lauren go face and appreciate what neither of the other two finalists did at the time. No matter, tonight was a night worth shedding tears for, with emotional home visits and the results of the final two contestants of the season!
Il Volo performed “O Sole Mio” while Nicole Scherzinger and 50 Cent performed “Right There” but neither performance matched up to the performance Haley Reinhart, 20, from Wheeling, IL gave after her “shocking” elimination. It made sense to announce Scotty first to then see which of the two females would make it into the finals. This elimination was not really all that shocking since there are more country fans in America watching Idol and voting than there are fans of Haley’s sound that are voting. But Haley was clearly very taken aback by the news of her elimination, standing next to Lauren Alaina who at first was jumping up and down, giddy and all – until she turned to Haley who was frozen in shock. Haley’s response to her elimination was priceless! She was genuinely surprised that she did not make it into the final two. Talk about a slap in the face. Haley gave the best reaction to an elimination all season long! Though she reeled in her emotions and whatever feisty words were knocking around in her head well enough to perform “Bennie and the Jets” one last time. This was definitely a highlight song of Haley’s season, so it was very satisfying to hear her sing it one last time on the Idol stage.
Now, American Idol Season 10 welcomes 16-year-old Lauren Alaina and 17-year-old Scotty McCreery as the final two contestants of the season and the youngest contestants ever to battle it out in the finale! It is such a pleasure to see Lauren Alaina in the final two! Scotty McCreery is going to get a record deal whether he wins the competition or not, so it would be incredibly pleasing to see Alaina crowned the winner. Former Haley voters, you hear that? Though both of them deserve to win, so it will be lots of fun watching the two battle it out in the finals at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE! Brace yourself for two hours of country music! Kidding, kidding. Or not.
Sitting in the audience last night were the Top 13, a very excited Elle Fanning, Priscilla Presley, and Brad Garrett. The finale and concert spectacular will feature special performances, surprise guests and a Top 13 reunion before America’s vote is revealed. Watch the two-night American Idol Season 10 finale Tuesday, May 24 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) and Wednesday, May 25 (8:00-10:07 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.
*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX