published Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Idol Chatter: Final five go toe-to-toe this week on 'American Idol'

SUSAN PIERCE: With just five singers and 90 minutes to fill, the Fab Five finalists will each perform a song from the 1960s and one current hit.

The “Songs of the ’60s” theme is like handing rocker James Durbin first place. He could choose any hit from The Beatles to The Doors. I can totally see him singing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” or “Light My Fire” — or even Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida.” (Boy, that last one was a flashback to my junior high school years.)

I’m really having trouble pairing Lauren up with a ’60s song choice. Somehow Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” keeps coming to my mind, but hopefully it won’t to hers.

LISA DENTON: I would love to hear Lauren cover “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, but not tonight. It’s too somber for what could be her “go big or go home” week.

I can imagine her doing another Aretha Franklin hit. She’s already tackled “Natural Woman,” but “Chain of Fools” could bring out her sassiness.

There’s a lot of talk on the show about the singers staying true to themselves as artists, but I get a little tired of the sameness. It means that Haley Reinhart is going to growl every song. Scott McCreery is going to sing country into his microphone flute and make cheesy expressions at the camera. And Jacob Lusk will find yet another power ballad. Jacob gets so emotive, squeezing out tears and sweat, I keep thinking some song someday will be the one that makes him pee in his pants.

Lauren and James are my easy favorites. James is the better entertainer at this point, but Lauren has the better voice.

SUSAN: I love to hear Lauren sing. Her performances are always right on pitch, and she does have the layers to her voice that Jennifer Lopez mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

But she has got to step it up this week, move out of her comfort zone, if she wants to get to the finals. I honestly felt that Haley passed Lauren last week in the run for “Idol’s” crown, and Haley’s never been one of my favorites.

The judges praised Lauren last week for trying to push through barriers, but she’s got to have a breakout moment to keep up with the competition.

LISA: As good as she is, it shows that Lauren has mostly sung to supportive audiences locally. She doesn’t have to stretch to impress her family and friends. Without question, she has the pipes to take the crown, but she needs to hit the finals as if she’s got something to prove to the rest of America.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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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