Idol judges back Lauren to win
If it were up to the judges, Lauren Alaina would be crowned the next American Idol.
The show's panel backed the chipper, 16-year-old songbird to win the grand prize after she faced off against Scotty McCreery in three performances on the Fox talent competition's finale on Tuesday.
Jennifer Lopez said Lauren's soaring rendition of the ballad, Like My Mother Does, may have secured her the title.
"This is a very tight race tonight, but Lauren, with that song, you may have just won," she said.
Scotty, the deep-voiced 17-year-old country crooner, was also in it to win it on the Nokia Theatre stage with his own possible future single, I Love You This Big.
Randy Jackson said his range on the ballad was great because he "sung really low and really high." Both tunes were selected by Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine.
"If he brings that Scotty cool tonight, there's no reason that confetti doesn't fall on him," said Jimmy, the Interscope Records chairman who will sign the winner to his label.
Tuesday's finale began dramatically when host Ryan Seacrest announced that Lauren lost her voice during rehearsals. He brought Dr Shawn Nasseri on stage to explain that Lauren blew out one of her vocal cords but had been given "a lot of medicine" to be able to sing during the finale.
Lauren insisted at the beginning of the show that she would perform, saying: "I'm here. I'm ready to sing, and I'm fine. Don't worry about it."