McCreery Wins Idol

GREAT SCOTTY: With 122 million votes, approximately one-third for every American, Scotty McCreery took last night's American Idol contest over runner-up Lauren Alaina in a battle of country teens. Among those who stopped by to perform at the plugathon were Lady Gaga, Beyonce, TLC and Lil Jon, Tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony along with wife J. Lo and Steven Tyler, too (without Aerosmith). The highlights: contestant Casey Abrams and Jack Black as the new Blues Brothers on Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls"; Scotty exchanging verses with Tim McGraw on "Live Like You Were Dying"; Lauren and idol Carrie Underwood shouting out, "Before He Cheats"; Jacob Lusk with Kirk Franklin, Gladys Knight and a full-on gospel choir; James Durbin and Judas Priest looking like extras from Cruising, and third-place finisher Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett crooning "Steppin' Out With My Baby." In all, everyone wins in this remarkable hot house confluence of democracy, populism, capitalism, commerce, competition and crooning. No wonder they call it American Idol. (5/26a)

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