While Suddeth’s visit home is short, the singing sensation will be busy. Her schedule tomorrow includes:
8:45 a.m.: An appearance at the AT&T retail store, 1853 Gunbarrel Road.
10 a.m.: Festivities at Coolidge get under way.
Noon: A parade in Chattanooga from the north end of the Walnut Street Bridge into Coolidge Park, with performances by the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Soddy-Daisy high school bands. This will be followed by a “meet-and-greet” session with Suddeth in front of the stage. Then Suddeth will perform several songs that will be covered on next week’s Idol episode. She will be backed by the Taylor Reed Band. Mayor Ron Littlefield will present Suddeth with a key to the city.
The Coolidge Park event is free and open to the public, according to Missy Crutchfield, administrator of the city’s Education, Arts & Culture Department.
3 p.m.: Suddeth will serve as grand marshal in a parade down Battlefield Parkway to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High. The parade begins at Office Depot near Cross Street and Battlefield Parkway.
3-7 p.m.: Ford Drive One For Your School fundraiser at LFO campus. Ford, an “American Idol” sponsor, will donate $20 to the school for every test drive in one of 10 to 12 cars the automaker will have on site.
7:15 p.m.: Suddeth will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Lookouts game at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.
All times are subject to change to meet “American Idol’s” production schedule.
Lauren Alaina Suddeth is coming home from Hollywood — but this is the one week on “American Idol” when that’s good news.
After a record 71 million votes were cast by viewers Wednesday night, Rossville’s teen singing sensation advanced to the final three contestants with Haley Reinhart and Scotty McCreery. They each will make hometown visits this weekend that will be taped to air on Wednesday’s episode of “Idol.”
Rocker James Durbin was sent packing in perhaps the most surprising elimination since Chris Daughtry lost in the Final Four of Season 5.
Suddeth’s fans are rolling out the red carpet for her Saturday. She’ll ride in two parades, sing a few numbers at Coolidge Park, visit her high school, then throw out the first pitch at the Lookouts game before the day ends.
Missy Crutchfield, administrator of the Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts and Culture, called the national airtime a “wonderful way to showcase Chattanooga.”
“Anytime anyone has the opportunity to see how beautiful Chattanooga is, experience it whether on TV or visiting as a tourist, they fall in love with the city and want to come back,” she said.
Crutchfield said that the timing of “Idol’s” visit during the area’s disaster recovery combined with Sunday night’s airing of the Sharrocks’ home build on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” also highlights the compassion of the area’s residents.
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School sophomore Bradley Travis said Suddeth called the school Thursday. Principal Terri Vandiver put her on speaker for the student body.
“She thanked students for voting for her, said she loved them and that she can’t wait to come home and see them,” said Travis, who plans to attend the parade at LFO Saturday.
East Ridge resident John Reid said he has followed Suddeth’s progress weekly. He met the teen at the restaurant Christie’s Corner Cafe, operated by her aunt, where he said they are both frequent customers.
“I think Lauren’s strengths are just a magnificent voice that’s natural and a great stage presence,” said Reid.
Pete Intza, public relations spokesman for the Chattanooga Lookouts, said there was a run on tickets Thursday once fans learned Suddeth had been invited to throw out the first pitch Saturday night. The Lookouts take on the Tennessee Smokies at 7:15 p.m.
“We anticipate a sellout,” he said. “Fans are encouraged to buy tickets early.”
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 ...