updated 05/26/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/26/2011 AT 9:45 AM ET
It was an American Idol finale for the record books: Steven Tyler sang “Dream On,” Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony shared a dance and a kiss on stage, country legends Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood wowed, James Durbin got his happy metal ending with Judas Priest, Tom Jones showed the men of the top 13 how it’s done and Haley Reinhart even sang a snazzy version of “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” with Tony Bennett.
But the night belonged to Scotty McCreery, who took home the Idol crown.
“It was just a moment I will never forget,” said McCreery, 17, of his win. “This was all about me being able to accomplish my dreams. I’m an American Idol. That was a huge dream. It’s time for me to start my career. The real work begins.”
Runner-up Lauren Alaina, who says she knew McCreery was going to win, had nothing but kind words for her fellow finalist. “It was God’s plan for Scotty to get first,” said Alaina, 16. “No matter what, that was the way it is supposed to be.”
And what was the reason behind the smooch the two shared on stage?
“She stays true to her word,” McCreery said with a chuckle. “She told me she was going to do that. It’s all fun and games.”
Though McCreery says they two aren’t dating, he couldn’t stop boasting about Alaina. “She’s a sweetheart,” he said. “She’s just so amazing. It’s a special relationship we have.”
The season 10 finalists even plan to duet. “We’ve talked about it for a while,” McCreery said. “I think we sound great together so I think that would be a wise choice.”
Next, McCreery plans to get in the studio and record a great country album as soon as he can. “It’s my duty,” he said. “I owe it my fans.”
But first he’s looking forward to a little downtime. “I just want to chill on the couch,” he said, “and watch Sports Center.”