Scott McCreery won the battle of the teenage country singers last night and walked off with this year's American Idol crown. The deep-voiced grocery store clerk from North Carolina is, at 17, the youngest ever to win the singing contest, reports the New York Daily News. Defeated finalist Lauren Aliana—the judges' favorite on Tuesday night—is a year younger.
"I told him at the beginning of the episode, 'Scotty are you ready to win?'" Alaina said. "He's my best friend and I love him and I couldn't be happier for him." McCreery, who wins a record contract with Universal, joked that he'd now like to spend some time "on the couch watching some SportsCenter and eating some chips." A record 122 million votes were cast, and ratings are up 4% year-on-year for TV's most-watched show, despite predictions that it would wither after Simon Cowell's departure.