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American Idol Season 10

Last night on American Idol it was The Boy Next Door vs. The Southern Belle as Scotty McCreery the 17-year-old from Garner, NC and 16-year old Lauren Alaina from Rossville, GA – the youngest finalists ever – went head to head in the only all-country finale in Idol history.

To kick off finale week, judge Jennifer Lopez took the stage immediately after leaving her figure skating practice in a green sparkly leotard looking umm… dress and Ryan Seacrest fancied it up in an impeccable tux. I don’t know what Randy Jackson was wearing, but it was something… In a shocking bit of information we learned that Lauren sprained her vocal chords during rehearsals! In fact, TMZ reported yesterday that 2nd-runner up Haley Reinhart was backstage and ready to take Lauren’s spot in the case she wasn’t able to perform. The AI doctor however came onto the stage to let us know that Lauren had been heavily medicated but he felt she would be able to perform just fine.

Each finalist went through three rounds performing three different songs with the judges deciding who won each round as part of their critique. Round One consisted of the contestants choosing their favorite song of the season. Scotty went first singing, Montgomery Gentry’sGone” giving a show-stopping performance. Then Lauren took the stage singing her rendition of “Flat On The Floor” in a saucy, high-energy performance. The judges determined that even thought it was close Scotty took round one, with Randy saying he felt like he was at a “Scotty concert.”

In Round 2, AI added a new twist by having the Idol’s own idols choose a song for the contestants to perform. Scotty’s musical idol, George Strait, chose “Check Yes or No.” Scotty played guitar himself during the performance and personally, I love this song and I thought he did a great job. Lauren’s idol was none other than past Idol winner Carrie Underwood who chose Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis” for her to perform. Lauren accompanied the song with a Grand Ole Opry style dress and cowboy boots. Round Two went to Lauren only because she is prettier than Scotty according to Steven Tyler! Actually all the judges felt she did a fantastic job with her rendition of the song and were really impressed with her performance.

Round 3 featured each contestant’s first single if they win American Idol. Jimmy Lovine explained how they chose each song for the idols. Scotty’s single “I Love You This Big” was a country ballad sure to get the teenaged girl army swooning as the Country Beiber crooned into the microphone. The judges felt the song really exemplified Scotty’s range and how far he has grown in the competition. Lauren’s single, “Like My Mother Does” was a special homage to her mom. During the performance Lauren walked off stage with a Seacrest escort and found her mom in the audience, giving her a hug. Both Lauren and her very proud mama were moved to tears. The judges loved it with Randy announcing: “Lauren Alaina has arrived America!” Despite her vocal injury Lauren aced Round 3, as well, with the judges deciding she had won it hands down.

Tomorrow AI comes to a close with a live 2-hour Season Finale and the winner is confetti’d!

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Who do you want to win American Idol Season 10? Who was the better performer yesterday?

Let the competition begin!

Just like that, we are now one step closer to finding the ultimate American Idol for season 10. Last night, the show narrowed down the 24 finalists to the top 13. The full list - Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, Thia Megia, (back row) Lauren Alaina, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, Pia Toscano, (front) Paul McDonald and Casey Abrams.

The show began last night with Ryan Seacrest introducing the Top 24 while also announcing that after the cuts are made, the judges will ask some of the eliminated contestants to sing for a wild-card spot. “It’s going to be a tough night for us,” said judge Jennifer Lopez.

Entertainment Tonight also reports that the judges, who were only supposed to pick 2 wildcards, simply couldn’t narrow it down. “They didn’t make a final decision to make it 13 until the end,” said Ryan.

“We saw so many talented kids we didn’t know what we were going to quite do,” Randy Jackson explained. “I’m still thinking about it,” said Jlo. “I’m like, ‘Did we do the right thing? Did we put the right people in?’”

Meanwhile, Jlo, who would have never made it to the Hollywood round had she tried out for the show, is making certain to use the show to restart her stale music career. Her new music video, “On The Floor”, premiered last night while the judges were mulling over the wild card performances. That video is below -

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE TOP 13 FINALISTS? DO YOU LIKE JLO’S NEW MUSIC VIDEO?

Casey Abrams, the American Idol finalist who was hospitalized last Wednesday will get to stay on the show reports TMZ.

Casey, who was hospitalized after complaining of severe stomach pains was apparently in danger of being sent home due to his illness. The reason? He was very close to missing Friday’s taping of the top 12 males — something all contestants are required to participate in to remain on the show.

Good news came for Casey as he was able to make the Friday tapings after receiving a blood transfusion at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He is not expected to return to the hospital.

And above is the official photo of the top 24 contestants: Top row (L-R) Kendra Chantelle, Jovani Barreto, Lauren Turner, Casey Abrams, Tatynisa Wilson, James Durbin, Karen Rodriguez, Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Scott McCreery, Brett Loewenstern, Pia Toscano and Jordan Dorsey. Bottom row (L-R): Rachel Zevita, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald, Julie Zorrilla, Tim Halperin, Haley Reinhart, Clint Jun Gamboa, Robbie Rosen, Naima Adedapo and Ashthon Jones.

The next episode of American Idol airs Tuesday at 8/7c on FOX.

A number of critics have panned the new season of American Idol, but did the audience also tune out?

Well, it seems at least some of them did. According to an AP report, the ratings for AI are down this season from the previous year. While the premiere episode was one of the most watched television shows of the year, averaging a total of 26.2 million viewers, it was still down 13% from the nearly 30 million who watched last season’s opener.

The decline continued onto the second episode of the season, averaging 22.6 million viewers.

Season 10 officially made it’s debut Wednesday, January 19 with a two-hour opener which was mostly dedicated to showcasing the new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who joined the sole returning judge Randy Jackson.

And following two weeks of auditions, some are wondering if these new set of judges are simply not Simon Cowell too soft as a high number of contestants were reportedly let through to go to Hollywood.

“I’m beginning to see why the Hollywood Week group was so large this year (a reported 325),” Brian Mansfield of USA Today wrote. “This group of judges are a much softer touch than previous crews. They’re much more likely to put somebody through on the strength of their personalities. Simon would have shut 75 percent of those people down.”

Critic Emily Yahr of the Washington Post stated the “same dramatic music, same talk about making people’s dreams come true, same sob stories with predictable tickets to Hollywood. It’s comforting, or it’s a snoozefest — take your pick.” Interesting.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEASON OF AI? ARE THE JUDGES TOO SOFT? DO YOU MISS SIMON?

It’s official! Fox is finally announcing what we’ve all known for weeks, which is that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the newest additions to the American Idol judging panel.

In a live press conference Wednesday afternoon hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the network introduced Steven and Jlo alongside Randy Jackson, the only judge remaining from the previous season, to a cheering audience.

“I’m looking for the next Michael Jackson,” said Jlo, 41. “We’re looking for the best American Idol ever.”

Steven Tyler, 62, also had some words to say.  “[It] feels like the perfect feathered nest,” he said. “It’s being a part of something much bigger than yourself. I want to bring some rock to this roller coaster.”

Jennifer, who is slated to earn $12 million for judging one season of the hit show addressed the Idol hopefuls in attendance at the press conference.  “I love you guys. I am so excited,” she told the crowd. “It is about concentrating in the moment, do the best you can. Just live! Just live, it’s your moment.”

The new season of American Idol will officially kick off in January, 2011.

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