Photo Credit: Fox
America has spoken! On the two-hour American Idol season 10 finale, 17-year-old Scotty McCreery was crowned the winner, beating out 16-year-old Southern belle Lauren Alaina.
As judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler looked on, host Ryan Seacrest announced that McCreery had pulled out the victory after a record-breaking 122 million votes.
"Never in my wildest dreams..." a stunned McCreery said after his win. "Thank y'all so much!"
McCreery may be taking home the title, but both of the top two contestants could be considered winners, as they each got to perform with some of their idols. McCreery teamed with Tim McGraw for a sentimental version of McGraw's hit "Live Like You Were Dying," while Alaina got to belt out "Before He Cheats" with former American Idol winner and current country superstar Carrie Underwood.
The judges even got in on the fun. Lopez joined husband Marc Anthony on stage to shaking her booty while Anthony crooned a spicy Spanish-language number. And Tyler brought down the house with a solo version of Aerosmith's "Dream On."
The stars just kept on coming as the show rolled on, with the top 13 performing with some of music's biggest names. The lucky ladies took on a Beyonce medley that thrilled the crowd -- and when Mrs. Jay Z appeared on stage to sing along, the audience went wild. B even returned later on in the show to perform her new single, "One Plus One," for the first time ever. The girls also had the pleasure of jamming with TLC and Lil Jon, while third-place finisher Haley Reinhart jazzed up the set with a duet with legendary crooner Tony Bennett.
The boys of the Top 13 hammed it up on stage with Sir Tom Jones, performing a slew of his hits including "It's Not Unusual," while James Durbin got to bring rock to Idol lovers everywhere (just like he had done all season) performing "Breaking the Law" with legend Judas Priest. Casey Abrams and Jack Black added a little bit of musical comedy to the show with their rendition of Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls," and Gladys Knight showed up to do a gospel tune with finalist Jacob Lusk.
Two of the most anticipated performances came toward the end of the show. First, season 10 mentor Lady Gaga delivered an over-the-top rendition of her brand-new single "The Edge of Reason" for the Nokia Theater crowd -- ending the performance by leaping off a 15-foot-tall rock. And then U2's Bono and The Edge joined Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark star Reeve Carney for a performance of "Rise Above," one of the many songs they wrote for the newly revamped Broadway musical.
But, in the end, it was Scotty McCreery who outshined them all. As the champ performed the final song of Idol season 10, his new single "I Love You This Big," he made his way around the Nokia Theater, hugging his family members, the judges, and each and every one of his fellow top 13. And, to top it all off, he even thanked the Big Man Upstairs for his win.
With top-notch performances and a down-to-the wire finish, American Idol's finale was a thrilling end to an unforgettable season. Did your favorite win?