North Carolina moved a step closer to its second “American Idol” tonight as Scotty McCreery was named one of the Final Four finalists of this, the show’s 10th season.
The Garner High School junior is less than three weeks from the May 25 finale. Scotty has reached the highest spot for a Tar Heel resident since Season Five of “Idol,” when Chris Daughtry made the Final Four. The sole “Idol” winner from North Carolina is Fantasia Barrino of Season Three. (Raleigh’s Clay Aiken was second in Season Two.)
Scotty won praise this week for the variety he showed in his two Wednesday performances – Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” and Elvis Presley’s “Always On My Mind.” On tonight's show, Scotty joined the other finalists for a version of The Turtles’ “Happy Together” that showcased – in a bad way – how different their five voices are.
Tonight's show also had a taped segment of the five contestants making omelets for chef Gordon Ramsay in what was essentially a long commercial for Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen," which returns to the air soon. (You've been warned.) Scotty didn’t fare too well in the cooking competition, with the notoriously nasty Ramsay spitting Scotty’s omelet out. Ramsay liked Lauren Alaina's omelet best and Jacob Lusk's second best, though he did say Jacob's looked like "a plate of vomit." (Nice.)
In another taped bit, Scotty joked about how he picks what to sing – tossing a deck of cards in the air and just grabbing one – and the interesting clothing choices the wardrobe department sometimes tries to put him in. (Scotty accidentally ripped a leather jacket during the taping.)
The show's promotion didn't stop with "Hell's Kitchen." We also had the usual cheesy Ford video, a performance of judge Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" and a sneak peek of the video for her "I'm Into You," and discussion of judge Steven Tyler's new autobiography, "Does the Noise In My Head Bother You?" (Judge Randy Jackson apparently had nothing to promote tonight.)
Finally, for some results. Host Ryan Seacrest began by dividing the contestants into two groups on the stage – rocker James Durbin and sassy Haley Reinhart on one side, and girl-next-door Lauren and melodramatic Jacob, right, on the other. Scotty was the last finalist that Seacrest got to. After hearing from mentor Jimmy Iovine that Scotty will have a great career regardless of whether he wins "Idol," Seacrest told Scotty that he's safe. (Scotty has never been in the bottom two, Seacrest noted.)
Then, Seacrest tried to get Scotty to pick which twosome on stage also was safe – James and Haley or Jacob and Lauren. Scotty refused to make the choice, so Seacrest pushed him over to James and Haley. The three were safe.
But first, another commercial. And a question – anyone else confused by the Walmart commercial where all the employees shout "match it" when presented with a lower price? Why exactly is Randy Jackson seen in the store yelling "match it!"? Is he moonlighting at Walmart now? Guess he really doesn't have anything to promote.
Once the show came back, Seacrest told us what many had predicted – Jacob, whose decent voice often took a back seat to his diva-like, over-the-top tendencies, was sent home. But don't worry. Jacob assured us that he will be fine because America has fallen in love with him during the finals. OK ... then. And he wailed a final version of "A House Is Not a Home" that may just have been his most campy, theatrical performance yet.
Scotty, James, Lauren and Haley will next perform live on Wednesday, with the lowest vote-getter exiting on Thursday. The Final Three would then get hometown visits the following weekend. Garner, get ready!