published Friday, May 27th, 2011

Lauren Alaina: Duet with Underwood was ‘Idol’ highlight

Carrie Underwood, left, and Lauren Alaina perform at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Carrie Underwood, left, and Lauren Alaina perform at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

During three months on the “American Idol” stage in Hollywood, Lauren Alaina Suddeth met Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jack Black, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and numerous other entertainment A-listers.

But singing with her own role model, Carrie Underwood, in Wednesday’s finale was the high point, she said in a media conference call Thursday.

“We went to a party for all the contestants after the show and Carrie invited me back to her (dressing) area and let me sit and talk with her,” said the 16-year-old daughter of J.J. and Kristy Suddeth, of Rossville. “It was amazing to see that someone I’d looked up to for so long was actually the person I thought she was.

“I want little girls to feel that way about me when they meet me. I want to stay true to my country roots and to who I am.”

About 29.3 million people watched Wednesday night as the hometown singer came in second to Scotty McCreery for the Season 10 title of “Idol,” according to Reuters News Service. That number marked a 21 percent increase in viewers over last year’s announcement of Lee DeWyze’s win.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Suddeth will receive “$87,500 for finishing second. The amount would be doubled if [she] records an album.” She also receives a new Ford automobile of her choice.

On Thursday, Lauren said that, even before the final announcement, she “had a feeling it was Scotty.”

“But things happen for a reason and God has a different plan for me,” she said. “There are thousands of people who would like to be second place on ‘American Idol,’ and I’m very fortunate to have made it.”

The singer said she chose Lauren Alaina as her stage name on the show because she felt people never pronounced Suddeth correctly.

“I went with Lauren Alaina because it’s easier and it rolls off the tongue easier. But I’ll always be Lauren Suddeth — always.”

During the latter weeks of the competition, judges and record producer Jimmy Iovine questioned the teen’s confidence in herself. She said that forced her to take a critical look at herself.

“I feel like I had a lot of confidence before the show. Seeing myself on TV, and being my worst critic, threw me back a couple of notches,” she said. “But that was a good thing. I needed to realize there is always something you can work on about yourself. The things I didn’t like about myself I worked on the whole time I was on the show to improve.”

One of those changes was the loss of 16 pounds. The teen said she plans to continue to lose “until I get to the point where I want to be, not where everyone else wants me to be.”

She downplayed a budding romance with McCreery, insisting they are “just friends.” The teens’ on-air kisses during the finale caused rampant Internet speculation Thursday about their off-stage relationship.

Both finalists will make an appearance at CMA Music Fest in Nashville in June, although no date has been set. They will spend the next few weeks in rehearsals for the Idols Live tour that begins in July. The tour stops in Atlanta on July 26 and Nashville on July 30.

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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rosebud said...

How many more days, weeks or months will this be your top front-page story? Will you please fill us in when she goes shoe shopping, or orders a pizza?

May 27, 2011 at 8:03 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

Ah Gee Rosebud...can't you just be happy for her? Chattanooga, Rossville and East Ridge are just wanting good things to happen for a very nice deserving "home town" girl. What space is given to her is not so HUGE that you can't skip it and go to what you want to read. Lauren's a sweetie and I for one am very proud of her. And I'm sure her pizzas will come from Ci Ci's ....

May 27, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.
rosebud said...

I am happy for her, I think she's terrific. I just think the TFP should move on to other news, instead of using this girl to sell papers. Cover some news that might help the families still hurting from the storms. And if you're going to run stories about Lauren every day, at least use a flattering photo!

May 27, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

"Cover some news that might help the families still hurting from the storms"? Are you kidding me? Those stories are on here and in print every day...and very prominent too. They are too important NOT to print. People still need help and I think the TFP does a good job on keeping those stories in the forefront.

Lauren's "American Idol" story is a sweet happy fairytale that we ALL need to hear and read about instead of the recession and the terrible destruction that we are living with day after day and I am happy to read about someone's good fortune for a change. But I am glad to read that you are indeed happy for her. It's a Cinderella story for sure.

May 27, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
heneh said...

We all need a little good news now and then. There is plenty coverage of all the serious stuff. So let us enjoy good things when they come along.

May 27, 2011 at 5:32 p.m.
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