Category: American Idol

Ace Young and Diana Degarmo attend the 20th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala at Universal Hilton Hotel on February 10, 2012 in Universal City, California.

Unlike most reality show romances, this one’s got staying power.

In April, American Idol alumna Diana DeGarmo opened  up to Yahoo Music about her longterm romance with fellow former  contestant Ace Young, who placed seventh in Season 5.

The pair first crossed paths when they appeared together in a 2010 revival of Hair on Broadway, and quickly bonded over their experience on the  reality show.

PHOTOS: Idol babies and weddings!

“We played with the idea [of dating] when we first met,” DeGarmo shared.  “[But] we were friends, first and foremost..We had both been through ‘Idol,’  which is such a unique and life-changing experience, and we just truly  bonded.”

To couch it in Idol terms, they didn’t, “go through to Hollywood [right  away],” DeGarmo, 24, joked. But now? Gushed the star, “We are best friends! I  truly believe us having been through ‘Idol’ is one of the big reasons as to why  we understand each other so well; unless you go through it, you don’t get  it.”

PHOTOS: Amazing Idol makeovers

Given their shared Idol history, the reality show stage served as  the perfect setting for Young to make it official with his love. In a  scene-stealing moment during American Idol‘s Wednesday finale, the  crooner got down on one knee and proposed to the season three runner-up.

“This has always been home to us and I felt that this would be the perfect  place to ask a simple question,” Young told a shocked, and tearful, DeGarmo. “We  have conquered Broadway together. We have created our new music together. We  have an amazing group of people around us. . .I love you to death. You’re my  best friend. I want to make this last forever. . . Diana Nicole DeGarmo, will  you marry me?”

Legal counsel for both Adam Lambert and Colwel Platinum Entertainment are still very much engaged in negotiations to settle a November lawsuit, despite early reports from celebrity gossip sites.

The lawsuit, filed by the company headed up by Lambert’s pre-Idol producer Malcolm Welsford, was initially to be answered by Jan. 3, 2012. Lambert’s legal representation negotiated a delay to push the response off to Jan. 17. When the date passed, reported that the deal fell through and the case would go to jury trial.

Not so, clarifies a source close to the case. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source had this to say:

“The article seems to have jumped the gun on Colwel v. Lambert, probably watching the court docket for any tidbit on celebrity cases. A settlement agreement is still actively being ironed out by both parties, and news will definitely be released when it is finalized.”  


Week Ending Oct. 9, 2011. Albums: Beam Me Up

Scotty McCreery‘s Clear As Day enters The Billboard 200 at #1.  You might expect a debut album by an American Idol winner to open in the top spot, but this is the first one to do so since 2003. Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, bowed at #1 in April 2003 with Thankful. Ruben Studdard, the Season 2 champ, followed suit that December with Soulful.

The next five Idol winners made the top 10 with their first post-Idol albums, but fell short of the top spot. They were, in order, Fantasia‘s Free Yourself (#8), Carrie Underwood‘s Some Hearts (#2), Taylor Hicks Taylor Hicks (#2), Jordin Sparks Jordin Sparks (#10) and David Cook‘s David Cook (#3).

The last two winners before McCreery didn’t even make the top 10. Kris Allen‘s Kris Allen peaked at #11. Lee DeWyze‘s Live It Up peaked at #19. I haven’t written much in the past few years about the declining fortunes of recent Idolwinners. It didn’t seem to be a reflection of those artists’ lack of star power so much as it was a reflection of the franchise’s waning power to sell albums. But for McCreery to reverse the trend suggests that the franchise isn’t out of gas just yet.

(You may have read that DeWyze was dropped by his label after just one album. This negates the original premise of American Idol-that the winner was destined for recording stardom-but it serves as a reminder of what a tough business this is for artists.)

McCreery’s album sold 197K copies this week. That’s the biggest first-week tally for a first post-Idol album by an Idol winner since Cook’s eponymous album sold 284K in its first week three years ago. But McCreery was edged out by the most prominent runner-up of recent years. Adam Lambert‘s For Your Entertainmentsold 198K copies in its first week in 2009.

There were signs that McCreery would have a have a big debut. His two EPs, both titled American Idol Season 10, have sold a combined total of 231K copies. His single, “I Love You This Big,” has sold 630K copies.

McCreery turned 18 on Oct. 9, the last day of the tracking week. (A #1 album will be a hard birthday present to top.) McCreery is the second teen artist to reach #1 on The Billboard 200 so far this year. He follows Justin Bieber, who was nine days away from turning 17 when he hit #1 in February with Never Say Never: The Remixes.McCreery’s album also debuts at #1 on Top Country Albums. McCreery is the fourth Idol contestant to reach #1 on this chart. He follows Carrie Underwood, who topped the chart with her first three albums; Kellie Pickler, who scored with her first two albums; and Bucky Covington, who hit #1 with his first album. (Pickler and Covington both competed in Season 5. Pickler finished sixth. Covington finished eighth.)

Billboard’s Keith Caulfield adds that McCreery is the youngest male artist to enter The Billboard 200 at #1 with a debut album. He takes the title from Omarion, who was 20 when O debuted at #1 in February 2005. And McCreery is the first country artist to debut at #1 with an initial studio album.Adele’s 21 rebounds to #2 in its 33rd week on the chart. The album has sold 3,885,000 copies. It has already sold more copies than any other album has sold in any calendar year in the last five years. The last albums to sell more copies in a calendar year were Mariah Carey‘s The Emancipation Of Mimi (4,969,000 in 2005) and 50 Cent‘s The Massacre (4,853,000 in 2005). 21 may well top both of those albums before the year is through. Its sales will likely swell after the Grammy nominations are announced on Nov. 30 and throughout the holiday sales season.Tony Bennett‘s Duets II rebounds from #4 to #3 in its third week. This is its third week in the top five, which equals the mark set by Bennett’s 2006 album Duets: An American Classic. The last Duets album to spend more than three weeks in the top five was Ray CharlesGenius Loves Company. It spent six weeks in the top five in 2004-2005.

Feist‘s Metals debuts at #7. It’s the first top 10 album for Feist, whose 2007 album The Reminder peaked at #16. (That album has sold 735K copies.) Feist received four Grammy nominations in 2007. Two of them were for the top 10 hit “1234.”

Jack’s Mannequin was conceived as a side project for Andrew McMahon, the lead singer of the band Something Corporate. But a funny thing has happened. The side project has done better on the charts than the band has. Jack’s Mannequin this week lands its second top 10 album. Something Corporate’s highest-charting album, North, peaked at #24 in 2003.Adele’s “Someone Like You” and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera hold at #1 and #2 on Hot  Digital Songs. Which will come out on top on the Hot 100? You’ll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.If you missed my Chart Watch Extra in which I listed every top 10 hit ever written by Burt Bacharach and/or Hal David, you have a second chance to read it. (They have been tapped to receive an award named after another peerless songwriting team, George and Ira Gershwin.) Here’s a link.

Here’s the low-down on this week’s top 10 albums.1. Scotty McCreery, Clear As Day, 197,000. This new entry sold 36K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. “I Love You This Big” rebounds from #181 to #83. “The Trouble With Girls” re-enters at #137.2. Adele, 21, 112,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #3 to #2 in its 33rd week. It has been in the top five the entire time. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by “Someone Like You,” which holds at #1 for the third week.3. Tony Bennett, Duets II, 71,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #4 to #3 in its third week.4. Lady Antebellum, Own The Night, 58,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #6 to #4 in its fourth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. “Just A Kiss” re-enters at #33. “We Owned The Night” jumps from #62 to #58.5. J. Cole, Cole World: The Sideline Story, 54,000. The former #1 album drops from #1 to #5 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. “Workout” jumps from #66 to #50. “Can’t Get Enough” (featuring Trey Songz) drops from #70 to #155.6. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV, 53,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #7 to #6 in its sixth week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by “How To Love,” which drops from #19 to #22.7. Feist, Metals, 38,000. This new entry is Feist’s first top 10 album. Her breakthrough album, The Reminder, reached #16 in 2007.8. Rodney Atkins, Take A Back Road, 35,000. This new entry is Atkins’ second top 10 album. If You’re Going Through Hell hit #3 in 2006. “Take A Back Road” jumps from #32 to #17 on Hot Digital Songs.9. Jack’s Mannequin, People And Things, 31,000. This new entry is the act’s second top 10 album. The Glass Passenger hit #8 in 2008.10. Blink-182, Neighborhoods, 31,000. The album drops from #2 to #10 in its second week. “After Midnight” drops from #52 to #187 on Hot Digital Songs.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Wilco‘s The Whole Love drops from #5 to #11, Switchfoot‘s Vice Verses drops from #8 to #28, Chickenfoot‘s Chickenfoot III drops from #9 to #29, and Mastodon‘s The Hunter dives from #10 to #43.

Two punk bands from Florida debut in the top 40. Mayday Parade‘s Mayday Parade debuts at #12.  New Found Glory‘s Radiosurgery bows at #26. This is Mayday Parade’s highest-charting album to date.

Adele’s 2008 album 19 jumps from #25 to #19. It returns to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Pink Floyd‘s The Dark Side Of The Moon. This is its 23rd week on top. It’s far and away the #1 catalog album of the year. Among all albums, it’s #27 for the year.

Mutemath‘s Odd Soul bows at #24. It’s the rock band’s second top 30 album. Armistice hit #18 in 2009.

Indigo Girls Beauty Queen Sister debuts at #36. The folk-pop duo first charted in April 1989 with Indigo Girls. They were nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist, but lost to Milli Vanilli (whose award was later revoked following a lip-syching scandal). The Recording Academy opted not to give the award to the artist with the second highest number of votes. Their “winners book” simply skips over 1989. Based on longevity (an important factor in this category), Indigo Girls deserved the award. They are still charting 22 years later. How about the other nominees? Tone Loc and Neneh Cherry never returned to The Billboard 200 after their hit debut albums. (At least Milli Vanilli got back on the chart with a 1990 remix album.) Soul II Soul charted with two more albums, through 1992. I’m sure academy officials wish Indigo Girls had won the award in the first place. The award to Milli Vanilli was an embarrasing episode for the academy.

The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams debuts at #42. The album consists of a dozen songs that the country legend had left unfinished when he died in 1953. They were recorded by such artists as Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and Williams’ granddaughter, Holly Williams. Williams and his backing group, the Drifting Cowboys, first hit the country chart in August 1947 with “Move It On Over.” They first topped the country chart in May 1949 with “Lovesick Blues.”

The Drive soundtrack drops from #46 to #89 in its fourth week. It’s the top-ranking soundtrack for the second straight week; the top-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the third time in four weeks.

Paul McCartney‘s Ocean’s Kingdom debuts at #143. McCartney is joined by John Wilson and the London Classical Orchestra on the album, which consists of four movements. This is the highest-charting of McCartney’s three classical albums. Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio reached #177 in 1991. Paul McCartney’s Standing Stone hit #194 in 1997. The new album vaults from #58 to #3 on Top Classical Albums, behind Jackie Evancho‘s Dream With Me and Tori Amos Night Of Hunters.

Real Steel was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack features Bad Meets Evil, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, 50 Cent and the Crystal Method. It sold about 1K copies, too few to make The Billboard 200.

Jackie Evancho’s Dream With Me In Concert returns to #1 on Top Music Videos. It has been #1 in two of its four weeks.

Coming Attractions: Evanescence‘s Evanescence, the group’s first album in five years, is expected to be next week’s top new entry. Also due: Martina McBride‘s Eleven, Five Finger Death Punch‘s American Capitalist, Ryan AdamsAshes & Fire, Lauren Alaina‘s Wildflower, Johnny Gill‘s Still Winning, Joe JonasFastlife, Bjork‘s Biophilia, A.N.T. Farm soundtrack featuring China Anne McClain and Taylor Swift‘s music video Journey To Fearless.


Bacharach/David photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images


FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2011 file photo, entertainment mogul Simon Fuller arrives at the BVLGARI Fundraiser benefitting Save The Children and Artists For Peace and Justice in Los Angeles. Fuller sued the producers and network that airs "American Idol" claiming they had reneged on a deal to give him a share of rival Simon Cowell's show "The X-Factor" in accordance with a settlement they had reached years ago. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The creator of “American Idol” sued the show’s broadcaster and producer claiming they have reneged on a deal to give him a stake in a rival competition show that is about to premiere in the United States.

Producer Simon Fuller is seeking an executive producer credit and the appropriate fees once “The X-Factor” — which was created by former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell — begins airing its U.S.-debut in September. His lawsuit is against Fox Broadcasting Co. and the show’s production company, FremantleMedia North America.

Fox will air both “Idol” and “X-Factor,” and FremantleMedia is producing both shows.

The lawsuit reignites longstanding tension between the forces that made “American Idol” one of the past decade’s most popular shows in the United States.

Fuller imported the format from Britain, where he launched “Pop Idol.” The U.S. version debuted in 2001 and featured Cowell as a judge whose biting remarks to contestants became a fixture and a ratings magnet.

Cowell created “X-Factor” three years later; it also premiered in England.

That prompted Fuller to sue Cowell for copyright infringement, and according to his lawsuit, Fox and Fremantle stepped in to preserve “American Idol.”

Fuller’s lawsuit claims he settled the case in 2005 against Cowell after Fox and Fremantle promised him that “X-Factor” would not air in the United States until 2011, Cowell would remain an “Idol” judge for five more seasons, and Fuller would be granted an executive producer credit on Cowell’s show if it ever aired in the United States.

“Despite the clear agreement to grant Fuller an executive producer credit and to pay him an executive producer fee, defendants have refused to honor their obligations and have further refused to negotiate in good faith,” the lawsuit states.

The U.S.-version of X-Factor will begin airing on Fox on Sept. 21.

The case is unlikely to be settled for anything remotely as cheap as a song, with both sides releasing dueling statements hours after the case was filed.

“Mr. Fuller has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of ‘The X Factor,'” Fox and FremantleMedia wrote in a joint statement. “His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we expect to prevail.”

Fuller’s attorney, Dale Kinsella, called the companies’ position that Fuller needed to be approved as an executive producer on “X-Factor” absurd.

“Fox is contractually obligated to approve Fuller as executive producer and compensate him accordingly, and it is because of the breach of the 2005 binding agreement that the case was filed,” Kinsella wrote in a statement. “Fox appears to be admitting openly that they have failed to honor the contract terms.”

An initial hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at



Story photo: Simon Cowell Takes Story photo: Simon Cowell Takes

Days after Nicole Scherzinger was tapped to officially replace Cheryl Cole on The X Factor, series creator Simon Cowell says he did all he could to keep Cole around.

Though a source confirms to Us Weekly that her lack of chemistry with the other judges was a key factor in her departure, Cowell tells the Associated Press his primary goal in sending Cole packing was to ease her homesickness.

PHOTOS: Aww! Simon Cowell kids around with X Factor‘s Paula Abdul

“I hate seeing her hurt,” Cowell says of the 27-year-old Girls Aloud singer, with whom he judged the X Factor‘s U.K. installment. “This was a decision we made which we thought would be beneficial to her, funny enough,” Cowell added, telling the AP he now worries if he’ll be able to mend his fractured friendship with Cole. “Not many people will believe that, but that’s the truth.”


In his interview with the AP, Cowell — who assumes “full responsibility” for Cole’s exit — slammed reports that her thick Newcastle, England accent contributed to her departure.

“She was good on the American show,” Cowell said. “I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked a little bit, I wouldn’t say uncomfortable, but just not as happy as I’ve seen her on previous shows.”

Despite having taken part in a series of U.S. X Factor auditions, Cole was offered a pay raise to return to England and assume a role on her former show. “It was even to the point she’d asked if she could have my dressing room” in London, Cowell told the AP. Those U.K. contract talks stalled, however, and the deal utlimately fell through.

PHOTOS: Revisit Simon’s last season on American Idol

Attempting to stay in touch with Cole via text message, Cowell has received only one reply from the singer.

“She told me she wasn’t happy but that she also accepted it was a business decision and she wished the show well. Typically, in Cheryl form, she was disappointed but charming at the same time,” Cowell said. “I always, always would hold the door open to work with her again.”

The X Factor premieres on FOX in September.

By Allison Corneau for Us Weekly. For more Channel Surfing, click here.

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It’s been a great week for Beyoncé’s confident, fist-pumping, female-anthem-making alter ego Sasha Fierce. She rocked three major stages to rave reviews: the “Billboard Music Awards“, “Oprah’s Farewell Spectacular,” and “American Idol.” But she’s also receiving some deserved attention for her impressive acoustic rehearsal footage.

Following the “Idol” broadcast, Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z, posted behind-the-scenes footage of his wife singing her new emotional ballad “1+1” in her dressing room. Accompanied by a pianist and her background singers, Beyoncé simply stands in front of a vanity mirror with her head humbly held low and eyes closed as she belts her way through the lyrics while her mother, nephew, and cousin, among others, watch in awe.

  the song, Beyoncé pledges her unconditional love for someone special. “We ain’t got nothing but love, and darling you’ve got enough for both of us,” she sings.

Jay-Z, who actually videotaped the clip, stressed the uniqueness of the stripped-down run-through. “This is the dressing-room rehearsal for ‘American Idol,'” he wrote on his Life+Times website under the pseudonym Andy WarHOV. “‘NO MICROPHONE. No effects.”

Fans online are equally pleased, saying this raw performance reflects the depths of Beyoncé’s talent. “Amazing pitch! Great control over her voice. No reverb, microphone, fade-in/out, vocaline, compressor, emlodyne, autotune, logic audio or protools needed,” Denasimone commented on popular urban blog Concrete Loop, one of the first sites to post the video.

Jay-Z described Beyoncé’s “pregame” show as refreshing. “Sometimes you need perspective,” he wrote. “You’ve been right in front of greatness so often that you need to step back and see it again for the first time.” of course, Beyoncé’s “Idol” experience wasn’t the only cool “Idol” news to break this week. On Wednesday night, the show named its 10th winner, Scotty McCreery. Elsewhere in the latest happenings in the music world, Justin Bieber and girlfriend Selena Gomez confirmed their boyfriend-girlfriend status when they shared an on camera kiss as the 17-year-old pop singer headed to the stage to receive a Billboard Music Award. The demand for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album caused the servers at online retailer Amazon to crash, as eager fans rushed to take advantage of the 99-cent presale promotion. And the Grammys caught flack from music veterans Carlos Santa and Paul Simon who demanded that the respected National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences reinstate the 30 categories it eliminated earlier this year.

Hopefully, this recap gives you the information you need to be pop culture experts at Memorial Day barbecues this weekend. Enjoy. We’ll see you back next week.

Scotty McCreery was just declared the 10th “American Idol” winner, but as the past two seasons’ Crystal Bowersox and Adam Lambert can tell you, winning isn’t everything. Both of those runners-up have sold more albums than the respective contestants who beat them, and I have a feeling this season’s runner-up, Lauren Alaina, will continue that pattern when she and Scotty release their albums later this year.

Why, do you ask? Read on.

1) Lauren May Get More Airplay – “Idol” fans loved Scotty, yes, but country radio staffers don’t seem to be quite as enthusiastic. Stark Radio recently reported that country radio broadcasters are already resistant to Scotty; WFRE’s Jess Wright even said, “If Scotty McCreery gets signed, I’m gonna need to change my phone number,” and KUZZ’s Toni-Marie quipped, “I’m calling in sick the day they bring Scotty by on the radio tour.” These same programmers also seemed to think Lauren has a good shot, with the right material and proper handling.

2) Lauren May Get Better Material – For her first single, Universal Records honcho Jimmy Iovine gave her “Like My Mother Does,” a catchy, heartstring-plucking ballad about a young girl’s admiration for her mom. Aw. Scotty, on the other hand, got the grammatically awkward “I Love You This Big,” with a silly chorus a boy might sing to his mom at age 5, not age 17. Were the “Idol” powers-that-be, who clearly wanted a girl winner this year, trying to sabotage him by giving him the weaker song? I don’t know–but I don’t think “I Love You This Big” did him any favors, and if he gets material like that for his first album, those above-mentioned radio programmers aren’t going to change their minds about him.

3) Lauren May Get More Label & Management Support – It’s been proven that if the “Idol” powers-that-be don’t get the winner they wanted, they’ll proceed with their original plans anyway. For instance, Taylor Hicks won Season 5, but all the 19 Entertainment marketing efforts that year went into making Chris Daughtry a star. Way more support was given to Adam Lambert than Kris Allen, and we all see how much effort the “Idol” machine put into launching Lee DeWyze’s career. On this week’s final showdown it was obvious how hard Lauren was pimped over Scotty, and while that attempt failed, that doesn’t mean Lauren won’t get a bigger marketing budget and bigger push later on.

4) Lauren Has More Crossover Potential – Let’s face it, most modern country music nowadays doesn’t sound very country at all, save for a bit of steel guitar buried in the mix and the teeniest hint of twang in the singer’s Pro-Tooled voice. I personally like the fact that Scotty doesn’t try to mix too much pop in his country, and keeps it old-school, hearkening back to the classic hat acts of yore. But Lauren’s poppier style does seem more in tune with today’s country scene. Those radio programmers’ comments cannot be discounted, nor can the fact that two of “Idol’s” most successful alums ever are Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler. (Lauren has also been compared to that other mega-selling “Idol” lady, Kelly Clarkson.) Carrie and Lauren’s finale night duet almost seemed like a staged symbolic torch-passing, and Lauren later told reporters backstage that Carrie told her, “Wow, that was incredible. We should take that on the road!” So Lauren has the potential to become Underwood 2.0.

5) Girls Dominate The Charts – The biggest sellers right now are Adele, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Rihanna, and the like, and ladies rule the country charts, too (Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, the female-fronted Lady Antebellum, and of course, Carrie Underwood). Girls don’t tend to do too well on “Idol” anymore–we’ve had four male winners in a row now–but they sure do well in the real world.

Of course, this is no diss on Scotty; he is the superior performer of the two, a real showman, so he may pick up even more diehard (read: record-buying) fans as he headlines the Idols Live Tour this summer. But hopefully getting all the way to “Idol” finale gave Lauren a confidence boost, and the sassy girl we saw back in Nashville, the one who had the guts to challenge Steven Tyler to a “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” duet, will soon reemerge onstage and on record. On “Idol” Lauren sometimes seemed like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar, as the pressure of competing got to her, but now it’s time for her to her to break out of her cocoon. So don’t rule out Lauren just yet.

The 10th season of American Idol wrapped last night with a two-hour-and-seven-minute finale during which baby-faced country crooner Scotty McCreery won the big prize and Lady Gaga gave the most literal performance of her career. As expected, the show was weird — special guests included Judas Priest and Tony Bennett — but hopefully we can answer all your lingering questions right now:

Did Idol cut away from Scotty maybe kissing Lauren Alaina when the results were read?
Possibly! Business Insider points out that cameras seemed to cut away from the two finalists whenever they got close, and there was definitely a suspicious edit (visible at the :20 mark in the below video). Before McCreery even thanked the Lord, he told Ryan Seacrest, “It’s been a year since me and Lauren Alaina tried out now, me and her have been together since day one, and we’re going to stay together.” Oh, really? Confronted about the dating question after the show, they played it coy. “We’re really close friends… I don’t know about the dating part. She’s just being funny,” said Scotty when Lauren playfully told the press to confront him about their status, according to Zap2it. “She’s such a sweetheart. We’ve grown so close. It’s a special relationship we have.”

Who was in Steven Tyler’s backing band?
Well, it wasn’t Aerosmith! New judge Tyler had promised his band would perform on the Idol finale, but guitarist Joe Perry swore it wasn’t gonna happen. And the winner of this truth contest is… Joe Perry! When Tyler sat down at a white grand piano to play “Dream On,” he was backed by Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert and Dean DeLeo, drummer Marti Frederiksen and pianist Russ Irwin. Frederiksen is a longtime Aerosmith collaborator and one of the “Boneyard Boys” who help write and produce the band’s music. Irwin is best known for his 1991 single “My Heart Belongs to You,” and has been part of Aerosmith’s touring band since the late ’90s.

Who was that dude singing with Bono and the Edge?
Half of U2 were on the scene at Idol to promote their struggling $70 million Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The young guy trading verses with Bono was Reeve Carney, the 28-year-old musician who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the show. He fronts a band called Carney whose other members scored a sweet gig playing in the pit orchestra for the production. Last night the trio performed “Rise Above 1,” which was produced by Alex Da Kid. The song gets a solid “meh” from us — we’d have preferred if they’d done the more U2-y “Boy Falls From the Sky.”

Where was last year’s winner?
It’s traditional for the most recent American Idol victor to make an appearance at the finale to A) pass the crown on to the new winner and B) remind America he/she is still alive. This year, though, producers didn’t let season nine Idol Lee DeWyze take the stage. “Hey guys, no I’m not performing at the Finale. I wasn’t asked to,” he tweeted. “A lot of questions so I thought I’d fill you in.”

What was the ballad Beyoncé sang?
If the super sexy song Beyoncé performed didn’t sound familiar, there’s a good reason for that — it’s brand new! “1 + 1” is the opening track on the singer’s June 28th LP 4 and a big chance of pace from her frantic first single “Run the World (Girls),” which she performed at the Billboard Music Awards earlier this week.

Now is the perfect time to follow The Amplifier on Twitter!

See Also:
Lady Gaga Brings Extremely Literal Performance to ‘Idol’ Finale

[Photo: Kevin Winter/American Idol 2011/Getty Images]

On Wednesday night, a new American Idol was crowned. Congrats, Scotty McCreery. But this news was actually anti-climactic compared to everything else that occurred in the 117 minutes leading up to Ryan Seacrest’s big announcement. If anything, there were so many great performances by the contestants who didn’t make it to the finale, it was enough to make viewers wonder if they’d voted wrong when they elected the final two. Perhaps this was not the agenda “Idol” producers had in mind when they planned this show…but their loss was our gain, because we were all treated to a night of fine Idolicious entertainment.

Here were the night’s biggest highlights:8) Jennifer Lopez Proves She Should Be A Judge On “SYTYCD” Instead
Any viewers who saw J.Lo and her admittedly more vocally gifted husband Marc Anthony duet at the 2005 Grammys were probably relieved that J.Lo refrained from singing when Marc performed on the “Idol” finale, instead just doing what she does best: Shaking her famous moneymaker like a Fly Girl. Still, it was a little weird that the singing judge of a singing competition only DANCED, and didn’t bother to come within 10 feet of a working microphone.

7) No One Is Harmed In The Making Of The “Spider-Man” Performance
When an aerial stuntman in Spider-Man spandex, suspended only by skinny strings, hovered above the audience, my heart stopped, imagining another Julie Taymor-style disaster like the “Idol” stage collapsing on top of J.Lo’s million-dollar-insured legs or whatever. But instead U2’s Bono and The Edge, and Turn Off The Dark Broadway star Reeve Carney, performed the musical’s soundtrack single “Rise Above” without a hitch. I would have preferred another Rock Of Agescast performance, myself, but this sounded like a solid U2 ballad, and everyone emerged unscathed, so I was pleased. And relieved.

6) Casey Abrams & Jack Black Have A Growl-Off
I never thought I’d see the day when Jack Black would be upstaged. But he met his match in Season 10 growler Casey, who out-scatted him on a bizarre but amusing cover of Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” while a bunch of modern-day Fly Girls in short-shorts gyrated behind them. It was more like Bodacious D than Tenacious D. It was also pretty awesome.

5) Lady Gaga Returns To Scare The Judas Out Of Scotty & Lauren
The season’s two young and impressionable finalists probably still wake up with night sweats remembering that time they were locked in a rehearsal room with mentor Lady Gaga and ordered to act “evil” and French-kiss microphone stands. When Gaga hit the finale stage in a metal-studded bikini, rubbing up against “So You Think You Can Dance” allstar Mark Kanemura on a giant rock, then jumping into a hellpit Black Swan-style, it was a tame performance by Gaga standards…but I bet Scotty kissed his cross again anyway.

4) The Great Debate: What Was This Season’s Most Shocking Elimination?
Casey Abrams claimed his top 11 elimination night was this season’s biggest shocker, and he made a good case (he didneed medical attention afterwards). James Durbin claimed his top 4 night was the season’s biggest upset (he cried, after all). Then Pia Toscano sashayed up in her “Most Shocking” beauty-pageant sash and claimed her rightful title. Seeing these Idols reenact the debates we’ve all engaged in around the ol’ watercooler was a total blast. (And by the way…I sided with Casey.)

3) Beyonce & The Top 13 Girls Run The World
Okay, WHY didn’t some of these girls perform this well WHEN THEY WERE COMPETING ON THE SHOW? Belting out a Beyonce medley, Thia and Pia oozed personality, Karen Rodriguez showed vocal range, Haley Reinhart proved she should have been in the finale, and Naima Adedapo, the dancer of the season, totally busted a move in her freakum dress. Then Beyonce joined the single ladies and things got even freakier. The one bittersweet moment? When they sang “If I Were A Boy” and I thought the full title should have been “If I Were A Boy (I Probab2) Steven Tyler Reminds Everyone He’s A Rock Legend
He plays the class clown on “Idol,” but never forget Steven Tyler is a ROCK GOD, people. There’s more to him than wacky one-liners, inappropriate flirting, and colorful scarves. His “Dream On” performance was a welcome reminder of his legacy, and on an even happier note, it forever erased Danny Gokey’s infamous “Dream On” Season 8 performance from viewers’ scarred brains. It was beautiful, man. Just beautiful. ly Would Have Gone Farther On This Show).” Come on, you know it’s true. Girls may run the world, but they don’t run “Idol.”2) Steven Tyler Reminds Everyone He’s A Rock Legend
He plays the class clown on “Idol,” but never forget Steven Tyler is a ROCK GOD, people. There’s more to him than wacky one-liners, inappropriate flirting, and colorful scarves. His “Dream On” performance was a welcome reminder of his legacy, and on an even happier note, it forever erased Danny Gokey’s infamous “Dream On” Season 8 performance from viewers’ scarred brains. It was beautiful, man. Just beautiful.

1) James Durbin & Judas Priest Give Metal A Chance
A couple weeks ago when James was eliminated, I lamented what could have been, imagining “James rocking the stage sheathed in Rob Halfordian leather” on the finale if he’d advanced. But I ended up not only getting my wish…I got James rocking the stage WITH ROB HALFORD. Watching James live out his Beavis & Butthead-esque rock ‘n’ roll fantasies, engaging in a headbanging Judas Priest screech-off on “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking The Law” (as “Pepsi Moment” pyro flames shot up to the ceiling and James’s tail-scarf wagged in earnest) was such a righteously rawkin’ antidote to the scrubbed-cleaned final two’s safe, grandma-friendly performances. And did James borrow that studded vest from Gaga?

It was pretty obvious–after three consecutive seasons of cute, guitar-strumming male “Idol” winners–that the “American Idol” powers-that-be wanted a female champion this season. And in finalist Lauren Alaina, a girl that judge Steve Tyler declared “The One” after her very first audition–they had a very strong contender. Many fans actually thought she did better than Scotty on Tuesday’s final showdown. But even Lauren, a likable girl next door in the Clarkson/Underwood/Sparks mold, could not break the girls’ dry spell on this show. Yes, baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low, because it’s just been announced that, despite all of the show’s blatant Lauren pimping this week…Scotty McCreery is the tenth American Idol.

This is hardly an upset, of course. Lauren was a season-long favorite of both the judges and viewers, but if there was anyone who seemed even more of a shoo-in than her, it was Scotty. Unlike Lauren, he’d never been in the bottom three before, and the boy seemed to be coated in Teflon no matter what he did. He forgot the words to one of his songs during Hollywood Week, was peripherally involved in the Hollywood Week bullying of Jacee Badeaux that ended up ruining Clint Gamboa’s chances, and delivered similar live performances week after week without the judges ever encouraging him to mix it up…and he got a free pass every time. Scotty was simply unstoppable. It almost seemed like his ascendance to the “Idol” throne was pre-ordained, since he was glowingly mentioned in some of producer Nigel Lythgoe’s promotional interviews before Season 10 even began.

It’s also not a huge surprise that Scotty won considering that, while he hardly had the stronger voice of these two (Lauren was one of this season’s best singers), he was the better all-around entertainer. Scotty always projected a certain unshakable confidence that Lauren sadly seemed to lose after her stellar first audition, as the pressures of live competition clearly got to her. Lauren’s confidence probably received another big blow when she lost this week, but she may be better off coming in second and having a little more luxury of time to mature outside of the “Idol” bubble.

But now, of course, the real work begins, for both contestants. While Scotty is “Idol’s” first male country winner–which, to be fair, differentiates him from previous male winners Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, and David Cook–it’s unclear whether the country world will accept him (Stark Radio posted a surprising report about country radio programmers already snubbing him), or if, at such a young age, he will be able to establish an identity outside of the country stars he sometimes imitates (like Josh Turner). Meanwhile, Lauren, who obviously wanted to win badly (she actually used to entertain her relatives by pretending to perform on “American Idol” as a little girl), and had trouble concealing her girlish disappointment when she came in second, may end up victorious in the long run; considering that her pop-country style has more crossover potential than Scotty’s more old-school, hat-act style, she could sell more records when she inevitably lands her own record deal. (It should be noted that the last two “Idol” runners-up outsold their respective seasons’ winners.)

However, both contestants are very young and have a lot of growing up to do, and now they’ll be growing up on the road and in the studio. So let’s hope Interscope and 19 Entertainment surround them with the right people.

Do you think viewers elected the right American Idol? And who do you think will ultimately be more successful, sales-wise? Let me know on the message board below.

[photo courtesy of Fox]

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