Like much of America, TVLine.com "Idol" recapper Michael Slezak was none too surprised that Scotty McCreery took home the "American Idol" crown on Wednesday night.
"Scotty has looked like the winner of 'Idol' for the last six or seven weeks," Slezak said. "It was a strange season, because not since season five has the race been this wide open."
Once the season 10 competition got down to the final four, Slezak said it felt like it could have been anyone's game, with James Durbin, Haley Reinhart or Lauren Alaina snatching the title from McCreery if they had put up that one magical performance. "If one of them had blown the doors off in the last few weeks, there was a chance to beat Scotty," he said. "But conventional wisdom won out. He was just so consistent and charming week in and out. It was hard to derail that Scotty train."
As for whether the fourth male champion in a row is a good thing for "Idol" considering the diminishing returns that began with season-seven winner David Cook's respectable debut, followed by Kris Allen's less-impressive numbers and Lee DeWyze's outright bomb, Slezak said 17-year-old McCreery is actually right in the pocket for what is going on in music now.
"Youth is where it's at in the music scene," he said. "Whether you like it or not, radio and media continue to gravitate toward younger and younger artists — Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift — so it won't hurt him being young."
And while that theory would suggest that a 16-year-old Lauren Alaina would have been an even better choice given the success of tweens like Willow Smith, Slezak said Scotty was a better bet because of his maturity and self-assurance, something Alaina hasn't quite fully developed.
"He also just seems like a nice kid when you watch him completely break down in tears during his hometown visit and again last night," Slezak said. "It humanized him. He's not a machine-like boy who picks off notes with robotic perfection."
"Idol" blogger MJ Santilli said the combination of maturity and confidence should help McCreery put together a solid debut, especially in light of how consistently he stuck with his signature sound on the show.
"Scotty seems to know, even at a young age, what kind of artist he is," Santilli said. "And he seems to be a real traditionalist when it comes to country music. I would expect more of an old-school vibe from Scotty when he finally releases an album — but with a contemporary twist. His people will need to help him develop his own sound. There were too many comparisons to other singers, like Josh Turner, during Scotty's run on the show. Now it's time for the young 'Idol' winner to define himself apart from the country pack."
Slezak agreed, predicting that McCreery will do very well in his post-"Idol" career and possibly break the chain of lackluster returns from his male predecessors. In a year that saw the departure of lead judge Simon Cowell and uncertainty about how new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez would fit in, the franchise needed a huge winner this year, and McCreery seems like the likeliest one to have a big splash when he releases his debut later this year.
"Haley was more of a wild card, but you know what Scotty will do, and the music industry loves to put people in a box," Slezak said. "If they get good songs — and with the team [Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine] has lined up, I can't see how they wouldn't — he should do fine."
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.