It was Mother’s Day all over again during Tuesday’s (May 24) final “American Idol” performance night , as Lauren Alaina stole the show with her rendition of “Like My Mother Does,” which was dedicated to her mom.
“Like My Mother Does” will be released as her first single should Alaina win the “Idol” crown during Wednesday’s season 10 finale. But the song isn’t exactly new: It was originally recorded by season-seven “American Idol” contestant Kristy Lee Cook, on her 2008 album Why Wait.
The song fit Alaina to a T, however, as her mother has been a permanent fixture during Alaina’s “Idol” run. She even came into the room during Alaina’s initial audition in Nashville, when Lauren sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and dared Steven Tyler to sing along with her.
“My mom’s been beside me through this whole thing. Every time I’ve gotten upset, she’s always been there to pick me up,” 16-year-old Alaina said in voice-over, during a package that showed her rehearsing the song with mentor Jimmy Iovine. “So I feel like it’s really great for me to sing this song just for her, because she deserves it.”
Iovine — dollar signs practically popping out of his eyeballs — was already in hard-sell mode for “Like My Mother Does.” “Let’s face it: Moms are the bedrock of American society, and they’re all going to be moved by this song like crazy,” he said in a pre-packaged segment. Then Alaina took over, and little else that came before during the episode mattered.
With clips of her “Idol” journey playing on the video screen behind her, Alaina — wearing a floor-length sleeveless white dress — glanced at her mother, who was seated in the front row. “I’ve got her spirit, and she’s always got my back/ When I look at her, I think, ’I wanna be just like that,’ ” she sang, as rows of fans near the front of the stage waved their arms in unison. And as the chorus hit — “When I love, I give it all I’ve got, like my mother does” — the camera cut to Alaina’s mother, her eyes closed and her arm held high in the air.
But that wasn’t all. The chorus repeated, and Alaina made her way to the steps of the stage and was accompanied down by “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. Alaina then made her way to her mom and gave her a great big ol’ hug, all while still singing and without missing a single note. She then held her mother’s hand while singing directly to her: “When I’m weak and unpretty, I know I’m beautiful and strong/ Because I see myself like my mother does.” She then made her way back to center stage for the song’s closing moments. It was far from subtle, but it acted as an emotional hammer during a finale that needed a strong knockout blow.
The judges practically handed her the competition right there and then. “Wow, wow, wow,” said Randy Jackson, before rising to his feet and calling the performance “amazing.” Jennifer Lopez said, “I think everyone will agree it is a very tight race tonight, but Lauren, with that song, you may have just won. That was beautiful.” And Steven Tyler added, “As far as I’m concerned, the first time I saw you, I thought you were my American Idol, and I think America’s going to find that to be true as well.”
What did you think of Lauren Alaina’s performance? Let us know in the comments!
Don’t miss a special edition of “Idol Party Live” Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, finale red-carpet coverage and the last “Idol in 60 Seconds” of season 10. Get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.