Worst. Finale. Ever.
Three. Strong. Words.
But is it the worst?
Let’s take a look, comparing the Scotty McCreery vs. Lauren Alaina showdown to the nine that have preceded it.
Season 1 — Kelly Clarkson vs. Justin Guarini: As finalists go, Justin was just mediocre. But Kelly? Wow. Back then, Idol had even sillier theme nights than now. Like Big Band Night. Kelly unleashed a blistering version of “Stuff Like That There,” showing versatility neither of the Season 10 contestants can match. Conclusion: Big edge Season 1.
Season 2 — Ruben Studdard vs. Clay Aiken: Superb vocalists both, they tangled in what is still likely the closest top two. Scotty McCreery, an unlikely heartthrob like Clay, compares fairly well. Lauren Alaina? Not so well. Conclusion: Edge to Season 2.
Season 3 — Fantasia vs. Diana DeGarmo: Actually, Lauren reminds me a little of Diana. Expect Diana had spunk beyond her talent and improved over the course of the show. Lauren has the talent, lacks the confidence and hasn’t improved. Neither Season 10 finalist can touch Fantasia. Conclusion: Edge to Season 3.
Season 4 — Carrie Underwood vs. Bo Bice: We now know Carrie led in voting every single week in Season 4. But people tend to forget how impressive Bo Bice was that season. Impressive enough that I wasn’t sure Carrie would win. One of my favorite final twosomes. Conclusion: Big edge to Season 4.
Season 5 — Taylor Hicks vs. Katharine McPhee: They’re much maligned now, because neither has enjoyed a ton of post-Idol musical success. But Taylor was entertaining, week after week. Kat gave us Idol moments with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Conclusion: Edge to Season 5.
Season 6 — Jordin Sparks vs. Blake Lewis: Like Season 10, Season 6 lost its best vocalist (Melinda Doolittle) before the finals. Jordin, Idol’s youngest winner to date, improved as the season moved on. Blake? Who can forget the beat-boxing version of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name?” If either of Season 10′s final two can pull off something that surprising, they’ve shown no hint of it yet. Conclusion: Edge to Season 6.
Season 7 — David Cook vs. David Archuleta: David Cook was Idol’s master of tweaking songs to fit his style of music; David Archuleta is a better singer than either of this year’s teen sensations. Another of my favorite final twos. Conclusion: Big edge to Season 7.
Season 8 — Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert: Kris was on the rise and coming off performances like “Heartless.” Adam was … well, maybe the best singer/showman the show has seen. Conclusion: Big edge to Season 8.
Season 9 — Lee DeWyze vs. Crystal Bowersox: Actually, Scotty McCreery has probably been more consistent than Lee and shows more confidence. But neither Scotty or Lauren come close to matching the passion of a singer-songwriter named Crystal, who should have won Season 9 by a landslide. Conclusion: Edge to Season 9.
Worst. Finale. Ever.
Three strong words.
And absolutely true.
Editor’s Note: If you want to check out performances from past seasons of American Idol, go here. Most of them are there except, unfortunately, many of those from Season 8.
Editor’s Note 2: This is one in a series of blogs looking back at Idol Season 10. Others include my picks for the top 10 performances, the top 5 non-performance moments, and 7 tips for improving American Idol. Coming tomorrow: A look at how the final 2 match up, plus the better alternative for TV viewing Tuesday night.