published Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Carrie Underwood, George Strait mentor 'Idol' finalists

  • photo
    Lauren Alaina Suddeth performs in front of the judges on “American Idol” in Los Angeles May 18. Contributed Photo by Michael Becker/FOX

The show must go on.

Despite straining one of her vocal chords in rehearsal only hours before “American Idol’s” finale, Lauren Alaina Suddeth was onstage singing for the win. She was treated by the show’s physician who cleared her to compete in a country showdown with Scotty McCreery, 17, of North Carolina.

And by the show'’s conclusion, “Idol” judges gave Suddeth the nod as winner of all three rounds of competition.

“Totally awesome!” said Paula Steele of Flintstone, Ga., a Suddeth family friend.

“I knew when the rumors started this afternoon about her voice that she would put everything she had into it, and she did. She does not quit,” said Steele.

“American Idol’s” two finalists, each hoping to jump-start a country music career with a win Wednesday, got an assist from two industry superstars in preparation for Tuesday night’s finale.

“Idol’s” Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood chose “Maybe It Was Memphis” for Suddeth to sing. Underwood posted on her fan club board Tuesday that it was a song she had wanted to sing during her “Idol” season but never had the chance.

George Strait, “the King of Country” who holds the record for 59 No. 1 hits, chose “Check Yes or No” for McCreery to perform.

In addition to the songs chosen by the stars, Suddeth and McCreery were asked to choose their favorite song from this season to perform.

The pair also sang their “coronation songs” — the singles that will be released by the winner Thursday morning. McCreery’s single was “Love You This Big” and Suddeth’s was “Like My Mother Does.”

Record producer Jimmy Iovine said he chose Suddeth’s number because it captured her “American Idol” journey with her mother beside her throughout the process.

“It’s a very tight race tonight, but with that song, you may have just won,” said judge Jennifer Lopez of Suddeth’s emotional tribute to her mother. “You sang with heart, emotion and a beautiful voice.”

During her performance of the number, Suddeth walked into the audience to sing to her tearful mother, Kristy Suddeth.

Jason Phibbs, co-owner of The Acoustic Cafe in Ringgold, Ga., where a viewing party was held, said, “It’s over. Lauren Suddeth is the winner.”

“I think her going up to her mom made the difference,” he said. “That was the deal-breaker.”

Viewers will find out who is the Season 10 “Idol” when the results show airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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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harleydogg said...

What I find disturbing is that Steven Tyler is saying Lauren takes it because she is "pretty"...how stupid. The WHOLE season...Scotty was consistantly better than Lauren. Scotty deserves the win. He has earned it, and regardless.....he will have the BIGGER career in NASHVILLE. Hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame Lauren

May 24, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.
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