Well, that certainly was anti-climactic, wasn’t it? After Matt Drudge reported yesterday afternoon that Scotty McCreery annihilated Lauren Alaina in the popular vote by a nearly 2:1 margin and was going to be named this year’s American Idol, last night’s broadcast finale felt less like a victory lap and more like a really drawn out lead-up to a foregone conclusion. When Ryan Seacrest announced that the 17 year-old country singer from rural North Carolina had beaten the 16 year-old country singer from rural Georgia, both contestants momentarily winced, then looked at each other with the same kind of expression that you see on people who know that a surprise party is being thrown for them before they even walk in the door. Confetti shot in the air, J. Lo pranced around in a catsuit, and Scotty McCreery got kissed by more women on stage than he’s probably kissed in real life.
However, as former Idol champs like Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen will attest, winning American Idol is the easy part. Staying afloat in today’s highly competitive music industry is another story entirely, and it remains to be seen whether Scotty will be wholeheartedly embraced by the Nashville elite. While Idol has launched Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler into country stardom, it should be noted that during its ten season run, Idol has never produced a highly successful male country singer (unless you count Josh Gracin, which, sorry, we really don’t).
That said, the honey-throated Scotty is the best male country music prodigy that television has seen since the days when the Garth Brooks-ian talent Jon Brennan stole the show on the second season of the Real World, so he’s got that going for him. Additionally, you can bet that the Idol promotional machine will go into overdrive this fall —when, presumably, his full-length album will come out— to make Scotty a “success” at the same time that Simon Cowell’s highly anticipated (and also controversy-filled) X-Factor on the air. For now, though, Scotty should be basking in the glow of being named this year’s American Idol but, as history has shown, his hard work has only just begun.
[Photo: Getty Images]