Eye On Idol (5/25/11)

American Idol viewers got a taste of things to come last night (5/24) as finalists Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina previewed their would-be first singles.

Scotty was first to sing with a tune called “I Love You This Big,” which was written by rapper/producer Lil Ronnie (Ronnie Jackson) with Brett James and songwriter/producer Ester Dean.

The live performance was not one of Scotty’s best, but thematically and stylistically it’s a good song choice. The lyrics are fitting for a young man with big dreams and a big heart. The chorus goes: “I love you this big/Eyes have never seen this big/No one’s ever dreamed this big/And I’ll spend the rest of my life/Explaining what words cannot describe but I’ll try/I love you this big.” The studio recording has an easy, worn-in George Strait feel to it, which allows Scotty to prove to the naysayers he has plenty vocal range.

Lauren closed out the show with “Like My Mother Does,” which was co-written by Nathan Chapman, Liz Rose, and Nicole Williams.

If Scotty’s was a good song choice, Lauren’s was doggone near perfect. Avid Idol watchers know that Lauren’s mother has been there every step of the way this season, all the way back to the audition round. Nearly every episode of the Final 13, Idol producers have cut to a shot of Mom in the audience tearfully cheering Lauren on to victory. The lyrics credit Mom for her strength: “She’s a rock, she is grace/She’s an angel, she’s my heart and soul/She does it all.”

Adding to the high drama, Lauren was dealing with some serious vocal cord strain before the show even started. But she toughed it out for a winning performance, making sure to hug her mother mid-song and melting my icy heart in the process. Curiously, this same song was previously released as a single by Atlantic artist Jesse Lee in 2010 but never dented the charts. Former Idol finalist Kristy Lee Cook also recorded the song for her 2008 album Why Wait.

Both songs are already available for purchase on iTunes, and Play MPE has serviced them both to radio. America crowns its newest Idol tonight (5/25) at 7 pm CT on Fox. Whatever the outcome, it looks like good news for Nashville.

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