The two hour finale was jam-packed with star turns, group sings, and one really big spiderweb. And of course, the crowning of your (or at least some voters') *new "American Idol."
The show kicked off with Ryan Seacrest informing viewers that a record 122 million votes came in after Tuesday's final face-off between Scotty and Lauren.
And then the performance parade began. The entire top 13 sang Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." The ladies tackled a Beyonce medley-- that included a harmonious interlude between Haley and Ashthon on "If I Were a Boy"-- before B joined them. The men worked their way through a Tom Jones mash-up before the panty-magnet himself showed up to bounce through "It's Not Unusual."
Scotty teamed up with Tim McGraw for "Live Like You Were Dying," while Lauren tackled "Before He Cheats" with hero, and season four "Idol" winner, Carrie Underwood.
Jacob got to get his gospel on with help from Gladys Knight and Kirk Franklin on Franklin's "I Smile." James donned his biker leather to perform "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight" with Judas Priest. Casey and Jack Black did a comic romp through Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls," and Haley got down with Tony Bennett-- still magical at 84-- on "Steppin' Out With My Baby."
We also got video "tributes" to the judges, a mercifully quick look back at the delusional auditioners, and solo turns from Beyonce, Lady Gaga-- featuring Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band on sax-- and Marc Anthony. JLo backed up her hubby with a saucy dance routine and Sheila E also lent a hand.
Fellow judge Steven Tyler also played an abbreviated version of Aerosmith's "Dream On," sans the rest of Aerosmith. (When Steven promised an Aerosmith finale performance that was, apparently, before he checked the availability of his band mates.)
And in perhaps the night's most bizarre cross-promotion Bono and the Edge joined Reeve Carney, the star of their trouble-plagued musical "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark," to sing the show's "Rise Above 1" in front of a big spiderweb. A spider-suited stunt man performed some aerial acrobatics above the crowd. (It's worth noting that the musical's soundtrack is being released by Interscope Records in June.)
And finally the winner was announced, and it was...
...Scotty McCreery, as predicted by, well, everyone.
Scotty greeted the news with charm and class, going into the audience while he sang his soon-to-be-single "I Love You This Big" and hugging all of his family members before returning to the stage and hugging every member of the top 13 and expressing his love and gratitude. As foregone conclusions go, it was very sweet.
So what did you guys think? Do you love Scotty this big? Did you enjoy the many and varied performances from Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Tom Jones, Judas Priest et. al.? Did you wonder why TLC was there and if, as some suspected, they were lip-synching? Did Steven Tyler seem sorta lonesome without the rest of Aerosmith during his truncated performance of "Dream On"? Can you believe they didn't string together all of his "beautifuls" in the judges' tribute montage? Will you be tuning in next season? Will you go see the "Idols Live!" tour? Did the Bono/Edge/Carney performance make you want to risk your life to see "Spider-Man"? Rant and rave here or come to the chat tomorrow at 10:30 and air your joys and grievances.
Oh, and p.s., did anyone else notice poor, unheralded Lee Dewyze, last year's winner, over Ryan's shoulder at one point during the show tonight? He didn't even get introduced. Ouch.
(*An earlier, shorter version of this post included spoiler space.)
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.