published Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Fundraisers send Suddeth cousin to ‘Idol’ taping

Several local benefits held to send Lauren Alaina Suddeth’s cousin, Holly Witherow, to a taping of “American Idol” have paid off.

Witherow, along with her mom, Kim Witherow, was seated in the audience during Wednesday night’s show.

Viewers of “American Idol” who have been following the success of local contestant Lauren Alaina Suddeth will remember Witherow’s backstory from the Nashville auditions. Lauren credited her red-headed cousin with encouraging her to pursue singing and told judges how her cousin Holly’s battle with cancer had inspired her. “AI” judges asked Witherow be brought into the audition so they could meet her.

A fundraiser was held by the Rossville VFW and through sales of “Vote Lauren Alaina” fan merchandise at Magoo’s and Fireball Music to pay expenses for Witherow’s trip. Family members confirmed Thursday that those benefits raised enough to send the cousin to Hollywood as well as her mother, who is the sister of Lauren’s mother, Kristy.

Lauren performed “You Keep Me Hanging On” during Wednesday’s Motown-themed show.

According to, which measures only phone votes cast by viewers, the Rossville teen is in danger of elimination tonight. DialIdol reports she is in the bottom three along with Casey Abrams and Paul McDonald. McDonald’s mother, Susan, is an instructor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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