LOS ANGELES – Scotty McCreery won the “American Idol” battle of the fresh-faced country crooners Wednesday, pulling more of a record 122 million-plus viewer votes than competitor Lauren Alaina.
“I never in my wildest dreams,” said McCreery, a 17-year-old with a strikingly deep, old-soul voice that contrasts with his youth. “I’ve got to thank the Lord first … he got me here.”
McCreery of Garner, N.C., and Alaina, 16, of Rossville, Ga., represent the first all-country finale and the youngest duo to compete on “Idol,” which is in its 10th season.
The exuberant, big-voiced Alaina performed on Tuesday’s final sing-off despite a vocal cord injury that needed medical treatment. She received raves from the judges, who said she won the night.
But the consistently popular McCreery, who’d never been at risk of elimination, claimed the title and a record contract.
The teenager seemed overwhelmed as he took the stage for a celebratory version of “I Love You This Big,” halting to embrace his parents in the audience, Alaina and others.