‘American Idol’: So Long, Haley — Lauren And Scotty Make The Finals

Becky Bain | May 20, 2011 5:30 am

Though Haley Reinhart was arguably the contestant who showed the most improvement over the course of the season – she went from being a shrug-worthy competitor trapped in the Bottom 3 to a confident, sultry frontrunner – the golden-haired Illinois native was eliminated from American Idol. Which means we’re left with two country-leaning teenagers in next week’s finale: 16-year old Lauren Alaina and 17-year old Scotty McCreery. Congratulations, country music fans. You won Season 10.

Of course, before Haley’s elimination (met with an unbelievable stink face from the ousted singer), we were treated to clip packages of the Top 3 being sent back to each of their respective home towns so that Idol producers could get juicy footage of them crying nonstop. Oh, and so they could see their families and friends and stuff, too.

First up, we’re treated to Haley’s rainy homecoming to Wheeling, IL, which features her limo ride around a race track and one extra weepy security guard:

Scotty’s homecoming to South Carolina included a trip to his former supermarket job and the greatest cameo of all time: Josh Turner, the artist behind “My Man” aka “Baby lock them doors”, comes out to surprise Scotty at his hometown concert. And Scotty’s reaction is pretty priceless – jump to 3:40 to check it out.

Lauren’s homecoming takes a turn for the truly depressing when Lauren sees the devastation to her town caused by the recent tornadoes.

And it wouldn’t be Idol without special guests promoting their albums. The X Factor host Nicole Scherzinger busted out her new Killer Love single “Right There” with 50 Cent in a pre-taped performance. Why pre-tape? Did the producers think Fiddy might start reenacting his R-rated Twitter feed?

And Jimmy Iovine must have ordered Idol to promote his teenage opera-singing group Il Volo or suffer his wrath. Il Volo is kind of like Simon Cowell’s group Il Divo, except… well, we haven’t figured out any differences yet.

After all the performance filler was out of the way, we got our answer: Scotty and Lauren are in the finals, and Haley is sent home (before having to head on the road for the Idols Live tour, anyway). Scotty wins the coin toss to pick what order he’d like to sing during the finale, and ever the courteous gentleman, he lets Lauren decide. (She picks to go second.)

What do you think of the two country-lovin’ teens in the Top 2, folks? Do these two contestants deserve to be at the top? Or are you still majorly bummed about James Durbin’s elimination?