Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.The tenth season of "American Idol" boiled down to two young country-crooning hopefuls -- 16-year-old Lauren Alaina and 17-year-old Scotty McCreery. When the confetti fell at the end of the two-hour finale, Scotty was the one standing under it. Unlike some previous winners on the show, Scotty will no doubt enjoy a lucrative career.
McCreery sang what will be his first recording, "I Love You This Big," (watch him sing it here) as he made his way down to the audience to hug his parents. When the song was over, he fell to the floor in tears. Scotty won America's hearts and their votes -- and there were 122 million of them -- with his mild, yet confident manner, boy-next-door demeanor and deep voice. Lauren graciously took second place, even planting quite a few kisses on her competition. The poise of these two teenagers was impressive.
Scotty was joined by country giant Tim McGraw singing, "Live like You're Dying." Lauren and Idol alum and country recording star, Carrie Underwood, belted out "Before He Cheats." One disappointing part of the night was that Scotty and Lauren didn't sing together -- maybe they're saving that for a recording.
"American Idol" took its hat off to educators. Lauren and Scotty visited their favorite teachers back in their hometowns and invited them to the finale. Scotty's choir teacher and Lauren's principal were in for a nice treat -- they each received a brand new Ford Focus. McCreery and Alaina get to choose any Ford vehicle they want. Not bad for a couple of kids who just learned to drive.
The top 13 vocalists were back on stage, reminding us that this was a season full of exceptional talent. They opened the show with Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." "American Idol" fans caught a glimpse of what the top 13's tour will look like -- and they no doubt liked what they saw.
Wednesday's two-hour program was packed with entertainment, making it one of the best "American Idol" finales to date. Steven Tyler pleased fans at the end of the show singing Aerosmith's "Dream On" and hitting his famous off-the-chart notes.
The night's talent included Beyonce, Lady Gaga, TLC, Bono, Tom Jones and J-Lo's husband, Marc Anthony. Spider Man even dropped down from the ceiling.
One of the highlights was Tony Bennett -- looking great at nearly 85-years-old -- and perfectly paired with the sultry jazz stylings of Haley Reinhart as they sang, "Steppin' out with My Baby."
James Durbin was at his best as a front man for Judas Priest. Casey Abrams and Jack Black were a perfect duo singing, "Fat Bottomed Girls." Jacob Lusk joined gospel singer Kirk Franklin and the talented Gladys Knight in their rendition of "Smile."
"American Idol" has certainly changed some lives in these past five months.
"American Idol"; FOX Channel; May 25, 2011