LOS ANGELES — Country fans were out in full force at the Nokia Theater on Wednesday night (May 25) for the "American Idol" finale, a showdown between country kids Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. L.A. is a ways from Nashville, but you wouldn't know it from the cowboy boots clomping into the theater and the biggest cheers of the night coming for Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood.
The support for eventual winner Scotty McCreery was especially apparent in the house. Following the final surprise performance of the night, from judge Steven Tyler, a row of Scotty fans stood with their heads in their hands for the entire commercial break leading up to the results. They didn't come up for air till their boy was announced season 10 Idol, and they erupted in cheers.
The enthusiastic crowd had some other favorites: Early castoff Pia Toscano's first appearance garnered the biggest cheers aside from the top two, and the last-minute arrivals of season-seven winner David Cook and season-eight runner-up Adam Lambert sent the devoted "Idol" fans into a tizzy.
There had been rumors leading up the finale that Lady Gaga would perform, and they were confirmed for the crowd when Gaga's creative director, Laurieann Gibson, walked down the aisle during a commercial break and got behind the sound board to steer the "Edge of Glory" spectacle. Speaking of the theatrical performance, the overtly sexual routine between Mother Monster and a backup dancer had audience members saying, "Um, wow!" But they forgot all about the bump-and-grind when the duo descended into the stage at the end, with fans gasping audibly at their fall.
A couple of other on-the-scene observations:
» Beyoncé has a lot of songs about girl power, but she really lived it when she walked the ladies of the top 13 offstage, holding their hands and celebrating their medley performance.
» Some of the audience members apparently hadn't gotten the memo that U2's Bono and The Edge were going to perform a song from Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." When the two Spider-Men got in their positions in the rafters to dive into the aisles and kick off the performance, one fan cracked, "I hope this doesn't go down as badly as the Broadway musical." Um, this is the Broadway musical.
» During the finale's requisite "biggest train wrecks" package, viewers were reminded of one mom who really didn't want the cameras to follow her daughter any longer post-audition, swearing up a storm and pushing the lens out of her face. As that mom made her way out of Nokia (yes, she was in the house), one man tapped her on the shoulder and said, "We had your back." The woman responded, "I had to protect my baby!"
» After the show wrapped, Ryan Seacrest called the cameras over for one last order of business. With the confetti still falling and all the "Idol" finalists gathered onstage, the host told fans that this could all be theirs next season. "It's worth it, isn't it?" Seacrest asked a still-dazed Scotty. "You better believe it," McCreery smiled.
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.