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Image: Scotty McCreery reacts after winning at the "American Idol" finale
Chris Pizzello  /  AP
Scotty McCreery reacts after winning at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25 in Los Angeles. Other "American Idol" contestants are seen congratulating him.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 5/26/2011 1:01:26 AM ET 2011-05-26T05:01:26
recap

Lock the doors and turn the lights down low, America. The teenager with the baritone is your new Fox-crowned superstar.

After four months and ten million “in it to win it!” pronouncements from Randy Jackson, “American Idol” named Scotty McCreery as the winner of season 10. The 17-year-old topped fellow teenager Lauren Alaina in the finale, winning the most votes out of the 122 million-plus cast.

Story: 'American Idol' finale audience up 21 percent

Once Ryan revealed the news — which came after the scheduled 10 p.m. finish, despite his promise to get the results out in time to avoid messing up DVRs — McCreery got mobbed by the rest of the finalists. He went down to hug his family during his coronation performance and then tried to catch some of the confetti on his tongue.

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Story: 'Idol' finale live chat with Craig Berman

That was an appropriate finish to a season dominated by the new. From the two first-year judges to the lowering of the age limit for auditioners to 15 to the decision to advance less traditional contestants out of Hollywood, it was a year that tried to reset the “Idol” brand from the dour sarcasm of Simon Cowell to the more uplifting serenade that Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler offered every week.

Story: 4th judge cleared path for McCreery 'Idol' payout

Both the winner and the runner-up reflected the youth and vitality the show was looking to recapture (Tyler’s age notwithstanding). Judging by the season’s ratings, it succeeded. The two finalists don’t fit what usually winds up winning this competition, but both McCreery and Alaina should be fixtures in the country music scene for a long time to come.

'Idol' finale's best performances

Rating the duets
Continuing the tradition of recent “Idol” seasons, the top six finalists got to sing duets with some of their musical inspirations.

Two of the most interesting performances came from the guys. James Durbin fit in rather well with Judas Priest, though his outfit left a lot to be desired. His goal of bringing metal back to the radio is still a tall order, but he did nothing to hurt the cause on Wednesday.

Later in the show, Casey Abrams sang a duet with Jack Black. Could Black be auditioning Abrams for a berth in Tenacious D? The former contestant could join Black and Kyle Gass, and the trio could call themselves Tenacious 3. And if they do, I want a T-shirt.

(Or of course, it could have just been a way to get the “Kung Fu Panda” voice exposure to promote the release of the next installment in that series. But the folks at “Idol” would never do crass promotional tie-ins like that, would they?)

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The “Idol” finalists themselves weren’t quite as memorable in their own numbers. Carrie Underwood was a natural pairing for Alaina, but did anyone really believe that the 16-year-old would know anything about shooting whiskey or bathroom cologne like the protagonist sings about in “Before He Cheats”? It also didn’t help that her voice sounded more hoarse than it did during Tuesday’s show, so perhaps the strained vocal cords were to blame.

As for McCreery, the problem was that Tim McGraw never seemed to be in sync with him, and the duet didn’t flow as well as anticipated. McCreery acquitted himself well, which is a good sign for his future prospects on country radio.

Video: Scotty: 'It's wild' winning 'Idol' (on this page)

In addition, “Idol” brought in the usual group of legends to take the stage. Tony Bennett was back to sing a duet with Haley Reinhart, and Tom Jones performed with the male finalists. Among the other musical acts were Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Marc Anthony, Gladys Knight, Kirk Franklin, TLC, Bono and The Edge.

The latter two, along with Reeve Carney, performed a song from the Broadway disaster musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Given the drama surrounding that production, it should count as a success that nothing fell onto any of the singers.

Crazy costumes
There were a ton of costumes to worry about, so the "Idol" crew was bound to misfire on a few of the outfits. But let’s just say there were some looks the singers would like to take back.

Thia Megia, for example. Her outfit for the “Born This Way” group act looked as though someone swiped it out of Bjork’s closet.

And Durbin looked like the newest Village Person when he was onstage with Judas Priest. To his credit, he eventually ditched the hat during the course of the song.

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Next on ‘SNL’ ...
The taped comedy bits with the contestants were highlights during the season, and the two clips in the finale were no exception.

The first featured Abrams and Durbin arguing over the most shocking elimination of the year. Abrams, noting that “America must really hate me, because they eliminated me twice,” argued for his doctor-inducing exit that caused the judges to use their save. Durbin thought his own was more stunning, especially since Randy said he was in it to win it, which shows he doesn’t pay attention to anything the judge says to anyone else.

Story: What happens to winners of 'Idol'?

Then Pia Toscano walked up in a tiara with a “Most Shocking” sash and a tiara, ending the argument.

The second clip featured the others discussing how they felt about having two teenagers in the finale, and the hits just kept on coming.

“We have two sixth-graders in the competition, and they’re kicking everyone’s a--,” Stefano Langone said.

“They still have Similac on their breath,” Naima Adedapo added.

Maybe, but McCreery can buy a lot of mouthwash to cover up that baby formula now that he’s the “American Idol” champion.

Craig Berman is a frequent contributor to TODAY.com. Join him on Thursday, May 26, at 3:30 p.m. ET for a live chat to discuss the finale.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: 'American Idol' season 10 finale

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  1. Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

    "American Idol's" season 10 finale came down to two country singers, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, with McCreery claiming the crown. The finale was held at the Nokia Theatre LA Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25. A record-setting 122 million votes were cast. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Beyonce

    Beyonce rocked out with "Idol's" returning female finalists, performing her hit "Crazy in Love." (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. James Durbin and Judas Priest

    Fourth-place finisher James Durbin, right, once again gave metal a chance by performing with the heavy metal band Judas Priest. Durbin sang with band frontman Rob Halford on the songs "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jack Black and Casey Abrams

    "Kung Fu Panda 2" star Jack Black, left, and sixth-place finisher Casey Abrams performed "Fat Bottomed Girls" during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The top 13

    The top 13 contestants, from left, Thia Megia, Stefano Langone, Pia Toscano, Naima Adedapo, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Ashthon Jones, Paul McDonald, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez and Jacob Lusk performed together one more time. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga returned to the "Idol" stage again to perform her song "Edge of Glory." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Steven Tyler

    "Idol" judge Steven Tyler waved to the crowd as he walked onstage during the results show. His first season on the show was an eventful one. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jacob Lusk and Gladys Knight

    Jacob Lusk, who finished in fifth place, performed "Smile" with Kurt Franklin and Gladys Knight. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Tim McGraw and Scotty McCreery

    Before the winner was announced, country star Tim McGraw performed a duet of "Live Like You Were Dying" with finalist Scotty McCreery. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Beyonce and the girls

    Pia Toscano, Ashthon Jones, Beyonce and Naima Adedapo performed together during the "Idol" finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Marc Anthony and J.Lo

    Marc Anthony, who appeared on an earlier episode of "American Idol" this season, came back to perform during the finale. His wife, judge Jennifer Lopez, joined him onstage to show off her dance moves. (Kevin Winter/american Idol 2011 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The judges

    This year's "Idol" judging panel of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler acknowledged the crowd at the beginning of the finale show. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett

    Third-place finisher Haley Reinhart performed "Steppin' Out With My Baby" with legend Tony Bennett during the "American Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. The top guys

    The top six guys performed a group number during the "Idol" finale. They are, from left, Scotty McCreery, James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. "T-Boz" and "Chilli"

    Singers Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of TLC perform onstage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tom Jones and the guys

    The top 12 male finalists perform with special guest Tom Jones during the show's finale. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Carrie Underwood and Lauren Alaina

    Season four winner Carrie Underwood performed her hit song, "Before He Cheats," with finalist Lauren Alaina during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Does whatever a spider can

    Even Spiderman showed up for the finale. Bono and The Edge of U2 and Reeve Carney were caught in the superhero's web. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. And the winner is ...

    Finalists Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina held each other for support as host Ryan Seacrest prepared to announce the winner of "American Idol" season 10. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Rooting for Scotty

    Fans celebrate Scotty McCreery's victory during a viewing party held at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. McCreery is from Garner, N.C. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Great Scott!

    Winner Scotty McCreery hugs finalist Lauren Alaina as Jennifer Lopez hand him his trophy at the "American Idol" finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Group hug

    "Idol" contestants congratulate Scotty McCreery after he won. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Here comes the confetti

    Scotty McCreery celebrates with fellow contestants as confetti buries the stage. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. The new 'Idol'

    Scotty McCreery celebrates after being named the winner. The judges had all given a slight edge to Lauren Alaina the night before the results show. (Michael Becker / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Fox's "American Idol 2011" Finale - Results Show - Show
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (24) ‘American Idol’ season 10 finale
  2. Image: Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery
    Michael Becker / FOX
    Slideshow (71) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 13
  3. FOX
    Slideshow (25) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 24

Video: Scotty: 'It's wild' winning 'Idol'

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