So it has come down to this, a country music showdown in which Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina each sang three songs. The first was their favorite from this season, the second was chosen by one of their idols-- Carrie Underwood in Lauren's case and George Strait in Scotty's-- and finally, the song that will be their respective first singles.
A doctor comes out before the start to say that, although Lauren blew out one of her vocal cords in dress rehearsal, she's going to be just fine. Lauren also says she'll be fine.Scotty's first song, a reprise of "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry opens the show on a spirited note and he works the bigger Nokia Theatre with ease. Lauren's run through of Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor" is a little more breathless and it's clear that she's struggling a bit and that's affecting her performance.
The second round finds George Strait picking a George Strait song for Scotty, "Check Yes or No." It's an age-appropriate schoolyard crush tune but it's kind of bland and Scotty does what he can with it. (Strait has so many great songs, it's an oddly boring choice.) Carrie Underwood picked "Maybe it Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis for Lauren and her confidence seems much stronger on this one and she ends on a good power note.
Ack, Scotty's first single is going to be a slice of country pop pabulum called "I Love You This Big." It's a big snooze, but he sings it fine. By comparison, Lauren's take on "Like My Mother Does" --originally recorded by season 7 contestant Kristy Lee "I sold my horse" Cook-- sounds like a classic. It certainly sounds more contemporary in its treacly sloganeering. Thanks to a mid-song hug with her mom, Lauren has a nice emotional moment that should play well to the moms who might now vote for both her and that nice Scotty boy.
Despite the judges' cheerleading for Lauren, I still think Scotty should and will win.
So what did you guys think? Who is going to win? What did you think of Scotty and Lauren's songs? And a reminder, the chat this week will be on Thursday morning at 10:30.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Glenn Yoder is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.