1. Finale

    Wednesday, May 25th 2011

    Posted by @IDOL_Insider

    In the words of the late Michael Jackson, "This is it." In just over two hours, we'd have a new American Idol and we'd have witnessed A-list performances that the Grammy Awards would envy.

    Ryan Seacrest and the judges took their spots for the last time this season. Breaking records is becoming a broken record for Season 10. A series high of 122.4 million votes were cast for Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery. That's only about 5 million less votes than the number tallied in the 2008 Presidential election.

    Singing Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," the Top 13 took the stage in the typical all-white finale attire. The guys performed together on one part of the stage and the girls on the other. It was fun to see them all together again, and I was impressed with the choreography. There are some talented dancers in there...and then there's Paul McDonald.

    American Idol had its first Judas Priest song brought to us at the beginning of this season by James Durbin, and the fourth place rocker got to perform with the band on the NOKIA Theatre at LA Live stage. He fit in really well, vocally. His lopsided police officer hat was the only thing questionable about James' performance. He rocked out to "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking The Law" with JP.

    The first clips package of the night recapped Randy "The Veteran" Jackson, and his question asking and catch phrases. How will I be able to sleep on Wednesday nights without "...is in it to win it" ringing in my ears?

    Jacob Lusk took it to church this season, and he got to perform "I Smile" at the finale with two of his idols: Kirk Franklin and the legendary Gladys Knight. He sounded great, and I loved that we had the Jacob jazzy bounce back. If only his mom and nana joined him on stage to help him take it to church. Lusky stank!

    Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" always makes me think of Bucky Covington's Season 5 performance, but after Casey Abrams romped around and performed with Jack Black, "Fat Bottom Girls" will never be the same! Earlier this season, Casey mentioned to Rob Reiner that he wants a career like Jack Black's. Who would have predicted they'd be duet partners just weeks later?! This performance was so much fun and Casey did some scatting, and I guess that's what you call the noises that Jack cawed.

    The Season 10 ladies were sizzling on the stage in red and black. They started their Beyonce medley with "Single Ladies," and then Thia Megia and Karen Rodriguez took the reigns on "Irreplacable." Naima Adedapo, Haley Reinhart, Pia Toscano, and Ashthon Jones performed the fast-paced "Get Me Bodied." Haley Reinhart and Ashthon Jones sounded amazing on "If I Were A Boy," and Ashthon's new hair 'do channels Beyonce . After the girls sang "Deja Vu," Beyonce came out on stage and joined the ladies for "Crazy In Love," which included a lot of shaking it on the dance floor.

    We took a look at Steven "The Loose Cannon" Tyler's Idol moments. "Loose Cannon" is a perfect name for the judge that gave us the now-famous "...see what hatches" quote. He made us laugh, he made us cry, and he made us scratch our heads throughout Season 10.

    Last week's eliminated Idol, Haley Reinhart, was joined by Tony Bennett for "Steppin' Out With My Baby." Haley's vocals always sound good when she's performing jazz, and she and Tony seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage. Haley's voice was so clear and present, and can you believe Tony is going to be 85 years old?!

    Jennifer "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" Lopez has been a hit with contestants all season long, and we also saw Randy Jackson's love of stealing Jennifer's compliments from her.

    Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, and Ashthon Jones were joined by Lil Jon and TLC for a performance of "Come Get Some," "No Scrubs," and "Waterfalls." Well that brings me back!

    Next, your potential American Idol, Scotty McCreery performed "Live Like You Were Dying" with Tim McGraw (Not to be confused with "Live Like We're Dying," Kris Allen's post-Idol debut single). How awesome! At least I think it's Tim McGraw. It's a hat with a smile. I can't see his eyes!

    Ryan was at the judges' table, but Jennifer was not there. Will she be performing? Not yet...it was time to hear from our Milwaukee guy with the radio voice, Big Joe Repka, who went over memorable moments from Idol auditions in a tux jacket with cargo shorts and flip flops.

    Marc Anthony helped the Season 10 Idols out behind-the-scenes, and tonight he rose up and took center stage to sing "Aguanile." Somewhere, Jovany Barreto is wishing he lasted just one week longer in the competition so he could be here for this. The back-up dancers on stage held up their fans to create a blockade, and when they pulled their large fans apart, there stood Jennifer Lopez. Judge Jennifer shook her tailfeathers, literally! This is why all the contestants fall in love with her...if not for all the other reasons. Sheila E was banging it out on the drums, and as if this wasn't hot enough, there was pyro at the end of the performance. Ryan said, "Now we know what they do at home." HA!

    There was a cute pre-taped sketch where Casey and James debated whose elimination was more shocking. They had hilarious things to say, but when Pia walked over to them in a tiara and sash that said "Most Shocking Elimination." James' face was priceless when Pia walked away. Ryan introduced "Casey James and the rest of the guys," and I thought he met Season 9's third place finalist but it was actually Casey [comma] James. The Top 6 guys performed a selection of Tom Jones songs, starting with "Kiss." Paul McDonald sounded good with "She's A Lady," and James took on "What's New Pussycat." He can poke fun at Casey's jazzy stylings, but James sounded great with this throwback song. Scotty joined in with "Green Green Grass Of Home," and Jacob took on part of the song. And Stefano hit some good high notes with "Love Me Tonight." Then Tom Jones joined the guys for "It's Not Unusual." Somebody do "The Carlton!" Jack Black was having a great time in the audience.

    After the final music video of the season, Scotty got to give a Ford Focus to his beloved chorus teacher, and Lauren got to give a Ford Focus to her inspiring principal. Then, Ryan revealed that these two teens get their pick at any Ford they want! How awesome! I don't even think Lauren has her driver's license!

    Lady Gaga took the stage to perform "The Edge of Glory" in quite the headdress. I would love to see what kind of fascinator she would've worn to the Royal Wedding. She sang and danced on top of giant rock formations that looked like the AgroCrag from the old Nickelodeon show, GUTS. And for you So You Think You Can Dance fans, that was Season 4 finalist and Season 7 all-star Mark Kanemura. What a huge moment for him!

    Then, potential American Idol Lauren Alaina got to perform with her idol, Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood. They sang Carrie's smash hit, "Before He Cheats," and you could hear traces of the wear and tear on Lauren's vocal chords, but these girls could be sisters!

    We got the other 11 finalists' pre-taped thoughts on the final two, and that led to hilarious commentary about the youngest finale ever. There were quips about American Juniors, prom, and Rated R movies.

    Beyonce was back to perform once again. And at first I wondered why she was getting a second moment on stage, but once she sang "1 + 1" I knew why. She was amazing and sang with an unbelievable amount of passion. Beyonce is in it to win it!

    Music began to play and Spider-Man dropped from the ceiling and into the aisles in honor of Spider-Man: The Musical. On stage, international superstars Bono and The Edge joined the Broadway show's Reeve Carney for a performance of "Rise Above." What a finale show this has turned out to be! Probably the most exciting in 10 years!

    Next, Idol's "Loose Cannon" Steven Tyler took the stage and played the piano while he sang "Dream On." YES! He stood up for the chorus and grabbed his scarf-clad microphone. He had to skip the pre-chorus--even judges are required to work with the American Idol song length limit! Steven Tyler has still got it. "That was beautiful."

    It was time for the moment we've all been waiting for. The winner of American Idol Season 10 is...SCOTTY McCREERY!!! He was grateful and said some kind things about his good friend Lauren before taking the microphone and singing "I Love You This Big." My favorite moment of the night was when he tried to catch confetti on his tongue and then collapsed on the floor. This 17-year-old boy-next-door just had his life changed. I hope he doesn't mind that he'll be missing many more Blue Crew baseball games.

    Congratulations, Scotty!

    Thank you all for reading along. Send me messages in the Idol Community, and until Season 11, Insider out!