Scott McCreery emerged as the odds-on favorite to be crowned the next “American Idol,” when he goes up against Lauren Alaina next week in the season finale. Haley Reinhart was eliminated from the show.
McCreery, 17, has a unique voice and a solid country music sound, and if he wins, he could go on to be one of the more successful contestants.
American Idol’s only superstar among winners after nine seasons is country artist Carrie Underwood.
Idol winner Fantasia Barrio has also scored some music industry success and has been a standout on Broadway.
Colleague Kellie Pickler, also a country artist, and R&B singer Jennifer Hudson have both established careers, and Hudson is an Oscar winner. Neither, however, won the contest.
So, the show could really use a winner who goes on to some success, and McCreery appears to have the best chance for that. Not that Alaina is unworthy.
Female contestants have had a tough time on this year’s Idol, with the majority getting voted out in the early rounds.
Both McCreery and Alaina have the show’s southern bias working for them.
Since the show’s was launched in 2002, six of the nine Idol winners, including its first five, have come from southern states.
In addition, semi-finalists Pickler, Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry are all from North Carolina, which happens to be McCreery’s home state.
Alaina hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., and went to high school in Rossville, Ga., where the mayor proclaimed “Lauren Alaina Day” when she visited.
The fact is the show is more popular in the south than any other region of the country. Southern household audiences are 10 percent to 15 percent larger than other areas.
As a result the show has produced winners like Taylor Hicks, who fell flat after being named “American Idol.”
“People in the South have a lot of pride … So, they’re adamant about supporting the contestants who do well from their state or region,” Hicks told MSNBC after winning.
Reinhart, 20, on the other hand, is from Wheeling, Illinois, north of Chicago.
Talent-wise, her voice is stronger than Alaina’s with more range, but Reinhart was hampered by some poor song choices early on that put her in the bottom group four times.
McCreery never finished at the bottom, and Alaina only did once two weeks ago.
McCreery and Alaina will face off Tuesday, and the 10th season Idol will be crowned on Wednesday.
The final contestants are the youngest in Idol history. Stay tuned.