Carrie Underwood wins American Idol 4; half a billion votes were cast this season.

Carrie Underwood is the winner of American Idol 4. More than 500 million votes were cast throughout the season, although of course we didn’t hear nor how close last night’s vote was. In addition to touring with the other finalists starting on July 12, Carrie will release “Inside Your Heaven” on June 14. And Bo Bice is probably on his way to becoming the next Clay Aiken, a runner-up who’s as popular, if not more popular, than the winner.

During the two-hours of bullshit leading up to the announcement, the show did something unexpected, presenting a very funny bit that eviscerated Primetime Live’s Corey Clark infomercial. Paula, Simon, Randy, Ryan, and the producers acted in a mock news show called “Crime Time Expose,” a fake news program which had a brilliant tagline: “We never let the truth get in the way of our ratings.” During the bit, they made fun of everything from the answering machine messages to ABC and Corey’s relentless whoring of his products; Randy was shown repeatedly recording an album called “Dog-tics,” wore a “buy my CD” t-shirt, and said “I’m not a sellout” while showing a copy of his book. Ultimately, the segment’s reporter revealed that “Simon Cowell has been having an affair with himself.”

During the finale, Seacrest also announced the location of auditions for American Idol 5: Austin, Denver, Memphis, Boston, Atlanta, San Diego, and Chicago.

Carrie Did It! [Idol on Fox]
Carrie crowned latest ‘American Idol’ [AP]