Well, that was fast.
Doesn't it seem like we just welcomed Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler to the American Idol judges table? That Randy Jackson just said that Jacob Lusk gave one of the best-ever performances on the Idol stage? That they just saved Casey Abrams from Top 11 obscurity? That J.Lo just wept over Pia Toscano?
But heading into Wednesday's Idol finale, the only opinion that mattered belonged to "America," which was tasked with choosing between Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, both cutie-pie teens with country roots and aw-shucks charm.
We can't speak for the passage of time, but we can say that a record 122.4 million votes were cast last night in favor of...
The streak continues!
Scotty McCreery, 17, became the fourth fellow in a row to win American Idol. Upon hearing the news, the teen from Garner, N.C., burst into an ear-to-ear grin that wouldn't quit and was immediately enveloped in a bear hug from his runner-up. (And did they share a quick smooch on the mouth? Cute!)
"It's been a year since Lauren and I tried out," Scotty said in disbelief. "We've been together since day one and we're going to stay together. Never in my wildest dreams...I've got to thank the Lord first, he got me here."
That, and millions of fans who were probably won over by his booming voice and baby face from the get-go.
After the smiles came the tears and more hugs, of course, as Scotty headed into the audience to greet his family, all the while crooning what's going to be his first single, "I Love You This Big." When he returned to the stage, he stopped for handshakes ("I love you this big, Casey Abrams!") and more kisses ("I love you, baby," he told Lauren) from all the Idol finalists and the judges.
"I promise I'll try to get [the results] in before your DVRs stop this year," Ryan Seacrest optimistically promised early on.
But you know how these things go...
Earlier in the evening, Scotty held his own against McGraw on "Live Like You Were Dying," though the country superstar hubby looked extra rugged and weathered (in a good way!) next to Scotty's fresh-scrubbed newbie-ness. Scotty's voice, though, is pure radio already.
Lauren went toe to toe with Carrie Underwood on "Before He Cheats," and while the season-four winner out-belted the youngster, it made for a nice show of sassy sisterhood.
Also among the highlights of tonight's pomp and circumstance:
• The top six guys teamed for a spirited Tom Jones medley, capped off with an appearance by the sonorous Welshman himself. Seriously, the group swaying to "Delilah"? Precious.
• Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett's jazzy duet. Really!
• Who knows what really happened with Haley, but Casey may have found a new soul mate in Jack Black, his surprise duet partner on "Fat Bottom Girls." Tenacious C, anyone?
• Beyoncé finally joined the top seven ladies for "Crazy in Love" after they'd seemingly gone through a piece of every one of her songs. Now she is a star. Take notes, girls.
• The salute to Steven Tyler, which just sounded like one long bleeeeeep...
And now, the sun has set on the 10th season of American Idol. The eighth season of So You Think You Can Dance starts tomorrow and it's finally beginning to look a lot like summer.