So. The Idol season that began in a flurry of promises and innovation, with heartbreaking back stories and judges who seemed to live music – the one that seemed to say “We’ll be different. We’ll give you songs you’ve never heard, infuse this tired old show with energy and life and make it all new again!” has come down to a pair of teenagers who sing country.
And the oddest, saddest part of this whole thing – sadder than the man with the brilliant voice who could not get out of his wheelhouse and drowned it out with fire and spectacle, sadder than the pretty chanteuse who made us love her voice but not HER, or the sweet-faced jazz man who lost himself so early and never really found it again, or the indie-rocker who sang his type of songs in a voice that cried for power but never got it – sadder than all of these was that it was so inevitable.
The moment we saw Lauren, she was touted as the winner, the one to beat, the girl who would finally take the show from the series of white men with guitars who had taken over the show – David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze. The show wanted that because each man had done worse than the one before, and because it was losing audience and credibility with these perfectly nice HAC soft-rock singers. They’d lowered the age limit to take in the fifteen year olds, and they got Lauren because of that.
And she was smart and spunky and had an amazing voice. She annoyed me totally, but she charmed the judges, especially Steven. And she was willing to do anything, even give Steven a lap dance, to make it to the live show and our votes. Nigel adored her. We knew she was supposed to get to the finish.
We weren’t so sure about Scotty at first. He had that unbelievable deep, dark voice, the one that sounded so wrong from his teen-age body, but he also had what seemed a limited repetoire, only singing the same song all the time, and floundering when given another. But he was good and the judges kept him.
No conspiracies in this post. The producers/judges kept him because they liked him and saw his potential, and the show needed someone like that to give the show credibility, and if he won, he would NOT be like the others. In fact, the only “WGWG” cast for the finals was Paul MacDonald, and he neither looked, sounded nor played like any of the four (counting Daughtry) who came before him. James played guitar, but his heart and soul were hard rock and metal and so was different. Casey played bass and sang growly, rich jazz. Stefano was a lounge singer to the end, while Jacob never could let go of gospel. Any of them, if they’d won, would have broken the chain.
But Scotty stepped onto the stage in the semi-finals and he was loved – loved by the little girls who found his deep voice sexy, and loved by the older women who saw the boy they wanted to take their daughter to the prom – the boy who’d bring her back as he’d found her, safe and sound. The one who’d grow up to be their ideal son-in-law.
And by the time we’d found our top ten/eleven, we knew. Scotty was inevitable. He could sing almost perfectly – but the judges forgave imperfection. They sometimes celebrated it. Scotty could stay in his wheelhouse or take songs and make them fit (or, really, have those songs made to fit, which is different post.) He was never really pushed to leave it. He didn’t have to, because people love old-school country and he just might make himself some money.
The others – they all had fans. All of them. But their fans were not enough. The girls went until there were just two, taking Pia, who had the most promise outside of Lauren, with them. The boys left, even Casey who had an extra chance. Lauren lost her confidence but she was cute and young and non-threatening and she sang pretty songs, so she stayed. And stayed. James and Haley stayed the longest, but James hit his limit while Haley found herself just a little too late, and maybe just a little too sexy, too jazzy, to be allowed to win. She wasn’t as safe and sweet as Lauren. We knew that no one would vote off Lauren or Scotty. Even when we hoped for Haley to make it to the end, we knew better. And we said so – I am saying nothing new in this post, not really.
Nigel loves Lauren. The fans love Scotty. The judges couldn’t judge, or judged too harshly, and the record producer realized it didn’t matter because he was going to sign whomever he wished – and if a country singing kid won, they’d be someone else’s problem anyway.
Tuesday night, we will hear six country songs, sung with varying skill by two kids too young and sheltered to really understand the meaning behind the lyrics, and some people will choose between them, but we know Scotty will win. Because it’s been inevitable from the moment he walked onto the live stage.