For the second year in a row, I thought that the performances in the American Idol finale had meaning.
I threw out past performances, judged the two finalists on a level playing field, and I told you the winner would be the person who had the best showing in the finale.
And for the second year in a row... I was wrong.
Yes, I gave up on Scotty McCreery - who spent a majority of the season at the top of my Idol Power Rankings - after Lauren Alaina had a more memorable showing with her performances Tuesday night.
But the American Idol voters proved me wrong, yet again, when Scotty was crowned the Season 10 winner.
Even though I thought Lauren Alaina would win, I think the American Idol voters chose the better performer.
I have said all season that McCreery is bound for country music superstardom and I am convinced that one day he will prove me right. If you have any doubt, Google his duet with Tim McGraw from Wednesday night's results show. Close your eyes and try to pick out which voice is that of the seasoned professional and which one is the voice of a 17-year-old high school baseball player. You will be amazed at how hard it is to do that.
Overall, Wednesday night's finale was a vast improvement from last year's. But it still had way too many awkward moments - like 20-year-old screamer Haley Reinhart being paired up with soft-singing octogenarian Tony Bennett, and the top male competitors doing the "Carlton Dance" alongside a 70-year-old Tom Jones as he managed to pry himself away from the tanning bed long enough to sing "It's Not Unusual." Really, he was so unnaturally tan that I thought the color on my television set was off, and when he sang "I wanna die" I was afraid he meant right then.
But the performances by McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Judas Priest, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jack Black, the surviving members of TLC and Steven Tyler singing "Dream On" were definitely better than last year's offering of Chicago, Hall and Oates, and the Bee Gees.
And I am sure that I am not the only man who didn't mind watching Beyonce and J.Lo seemingly compete against each other on stage for the 2011 Sir Mix-a-Lot Rump Shaking World Title. The winner reportedly gets a signed copy of "Baby Got Back," a starring role in the sequel "Baby Needs Two Chairs," and an inflatable donut seat cushion.
As I alluded to earlier, this isn't the first time the American Idol voters have made me wrong this season. At the beginning of the season I made some bold predictions on what the rest of the season would bring. Here is how I fared:
Prediction 1 - Jacob Lusk and Clint Jun Gamboa will be two of the first male contestants to get eliminated: I was half right. Gamboa was sent home in the first elimination, but we were stuck with fifth-place finisher Lusk until May 5.
Prediction 2 - Scotty McCreery will not stray from the country music genre at all and will have one of the most successful post-Idol careers as a result. But I don't think McCreery can win this competition because he is so one-dimensional: I was half right again. Scotty stuck exclusively to country, but still won.
Prediction 3 - I set the over-under on how many creepy comments 63-year-old Steven Tyler would make to young female contestants at an even dozen. I chose over: I was right by a landslide. In fact, Tyler cleared a dozen with his comments to 16-year-old Lauren Alaina and 20-year-old Haley Reinhart alone. I had to stop counting because it made me feel icky.
Prediction 4 - J. Lo would relentlessly self promote, but would have a difficult time giving constructive criticism: Correct on all counts. Not only did J.Lo and her husband get more screen time than most of the contestants, J. Lo - and the rest of the judges, for that matter - seemed allergic to giving criticism.
Prediction 5: James Durbin and Casey Abrams would have to differ from their styles in order to make the Top 5, but only one of them would. I chose Abrams: Again, I was half right, but I chose the wrong one. But in fairness, who could have guessed that Casey would lose his mind and start putting on bizarre performances after I made this prediction.
Prediction 6: Tim Halperin would be the top male finisher: He didn't even make the Top 13.
Prediction 7: This year's winner will be female: Wrong again. McCreery is the fifth white male to win American Idol in the last six years.
Prediction 8: It will come down to the wire between Julie Zorrilla, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, and Pia Toscano: Ugh... not even close.
Prediction 9: The winner would be from the Northeast: Pass.
Prediction 10: It will be someone J. Lo can relate to vocally: Pass.
Predition 11: Pia Toscano would win: I should have been right, but... Pass!
I also made a bonus prediction last week that Haley Reinhart's elimination would hurt the ratings for the finale because the all-country showdown would alienate viewers. At least I got this one right. Tuesday night's final performances brought in a reported 19.9 million viewers - which was down seven percent from last year's previous record low.
Looking back at this season, I can't help but be disappointed by both the judges' ineptitude and the failure of some of my favorite performers of the season - like Halperin, Toscano, Rob Bolin, and Chris Medina - to pose any meaningful threat to win.
And from the comments that I've heard from many of you - whether it was through this blog, e-mail, phone messages, or on the street - this was a disappointing season for more people than just me.
This makes me think that I am not the only person excited for the upcoming debut of "The X Factor," an "American Idol" meets "The Voice" competition featuring alum from the golden era of Idol - Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.
I know. Who would have ever thought we would miss Paula's incoherent ramblings?
Well, until next time...
Thank you for all of your feedback throughout the year, the good and the bad. I had fun and I hope you did too.