- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scotty McCreery won back some friends on “American Idol.”

After receiving lukewarm criticism from the show’s judges last week, the 17-year-old country crooner of Garner, N.C., pleased the panel with his buttery rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” on the Fox talent competition’s evening of Carole King tunes Wednesday, but it was 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz., Calif., who was dubbed the front-runner.

Randy Jackson proclaimed that Durbin “just might win the whole thing” after his electric reworking of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Steven Tyler didn’t say he saw Haley Reinhart, the bluesy 20-year-old college student of Wheeling, Ill., winning the contest, though he did claim he “just saw God” after Reinhart’s upbeat rendition of “Beautiful.”

One of the six finalists will be dismissed Thursday.

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