If you've ever wondered what an Idol episode would be like with all the filler removed, last night gave the answer: quick and boring. That last wasn't helped by Scotty or Lauren, who are about as spontaneous as a Chuck E Cheese animatronic band. Imagine if Naima or James had ransacked their ways through instead. Surely something would have happened – a stealth Namibian dance attack, random object lit on fire. Instead we got six songs, neither bad nor wondrous. Just sort of there.
Ryan started the night off listing Scotty's and Lauren's likenesses with all the awe of a preacher testifying: they both love country music, they're both teenagers, and – here Ryan took a dramatic breath – they both want to win. Yeah! Soak that in. Two finalists left, and they both want to win. Things are crazy this season! Meanwhile, Lauren had to compete with a blown-out vocal chord, a state of affairs Ryan duly trotted "the doctor" out to prove. This was the only pulse-jogging moment of the night, a take-off on the scene in Never Say Never when it seems like little Bieber might not make it to Madison Square Garden after all. Until he does! Would Lauren pull a Bieber with a last-minute 180? Or would Scotty beat her at her own game by pulling the other version of a Bieber: monopolizing the hearts of young girls?
His task ahead of him, Scotty launched into his Favorite Song He Sang This Season, "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry. Up against Lauren's head-scratcher of a choice, Katrina Elam's "Flat on the Floor" (What happened to "Anyway"? "The Climb"? Any of the slow songs Lauren ripped holes into from her happy place center stage?), Scotty nabbed the judges' vote. Next came Songs Assigned By A Personal Idol – George Strait for Scotty, and the pointed pick of Idol country superstar Carrie Underwood for Lauren. Ryan insisted we be excited about this method of song-choice, which has never happened before in all of Idol history. Of all the world's histories, Idol's is probably the least storied. But still – first time ever, you guys!
George gifted Scotty with a brilliant pick, his own "Check Yes or No" (Young Girl Translation: Scotty is asking because he loves me). Carrie's reasoning was less cut-throat – Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis," a mid-tempo ballad that wasn't slow or familiar enough to move Lauren into excellence. But the judges made it a real showdown by declaring Lauren the second round winner, "only because she's prettier," said Steven.
Before the all-important reveal of the shlock written for each contestant to push should they win, Taio Cruz showed up to sing something called "Positive," a song chimera pieced together with lyrics Idol fans sent in. The performance included plenty of robot arms and drummers lit up in green, but was still only ok. The lyrics, however, were genius.
Eventually the time arrived for Scotty and Lauren to preview for the country what their careers could look like if only they were allowed to release a first single. Scotty's song, "Love You This Big," was an anguished cry to his favorite demographic, all about how being young doesn't preclude him from loving you this big. Lauren's "Like My Mother Does" was an equally anguished cry to Scotty's demographic, appealing instead to their love of their mothers. The judges – perhaps to shake up Scotty's demographic some more – called the night a Lauren Alaina victory.
As Ryan once famously said, "they both love country music, they're both teenagers, they both have eyes, noses and dreams." Last night the only clear difference was that Scotty said he loves every young girl, while Lauren said she is every young girl. So go ahead, young girls. Check Scotty or Lauren.
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