I wonder who owns the rights to the name of the defunct country music talent competition "Nashville Star." Because for all intents and purposes that is what this season of American Idol became Thursday night with Haley Reinhart's elimination.

I've told you all season that performers from the South have traditionally dominated American Idol. And by advancing to the finale, country-singing teens Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina guaranteed that Dixie will claim its eighth winner in the series' 10 seasons.

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This could mean an abrupt goodbye to any significant finale ratings, because many non-country fans of the show could now be turned off - if they weren't already - by this largely disappointing season. But with that said, it could mean a sweet hello to millions of records being sold by the Idol winner and runner up in truck stops nationwide.

It could be more than a decade before either contestant reaches their potential, however. Because even though both youngsters have the potential to be stars in the country music scene, they have a lot of maturing to do as artists.

And don't expect either artist try to push the envelope creatively or show their versatility as performers during next week's finale, which will air on Tuesday with results on Wednesday. Both have been unapologetic one-trick ponies this season. It got them this far and changing things up now could be disastrous.

Before I give you my Idol pick, I can't help but comment on the this week's guest performers.

Is it bad that the most entertaining performance on the Idol stage this season was not in English?

The trio Il Volo - who looked like the Italian version of the Jonas Brothers - had my wife and I dancing through our kitchen. Especially the skinny nerdy one, who looked like Urkel and sang like Pavarotti.

Unfortunately it was followed by an awful performance by Nicole Scherzinger that was all kinds of inappropriate for the show's young viewers.

The former Pussycat Doll struggled to carry a tune without the assistance of auto tune, gyrated on stage in her lingerie and sang overly suggestive lyrics like, "I love it when you put it right there."

Really, Idol producers?

I understand I bashed last year's finale for its lack of relevant guest performers, but there is a way to be relevant without playing in the gutter.

But I digress...

Scotty will win next week. Scotty should win next week. And Scotty has Pia Toscano's baffling early elimination to thank for it.

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