published Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Lauren Alaina Suddeth climbs into “American Idol” Top 8

Lauren Alaina Suddeth performs on "American Idol" on March 30. (Contributed by Michael Becker/ Fox)
Lauren Alaina Suddeth performs on "American Idol" on March 30. (Contributed by Michael Becker/ Fox)

Lauren Alaina Suddeth, a 16-year-old from Rossville, Ga., is among the eight contestants still alive on “American Idol” Season 10.

Voted off show Thursday night was Pia Toscano, of Howard Beach, N.Y., one of the judges’ favorites.

Meanwhile, Paul McDonald, the pleasantly quirky Nashville singer whose voice had been compared to a cross between Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan, also survived the weekly cut.

McDonald, whose mother Susan teaches at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was in the bottom three on the show last week.

Suddeth sang Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” on Wednesday, and McDonald charmed the audience with an up-tempo version of the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues.”

McDonald has become a fan favorite on the show for his wispy vocals and energetic dance moves. His megawatt smile is his trademark.

TV Guide has reported that McDonald, 26, had been a big-brother figure to Suddeth on the show.

Editor’s note: Fans of Suddeth can pass along messages at

about Mark Kennedy...

Mark Kennedy is a Times Free Press columnist and editor. He writes the "LIfe Stories" human interest column for the City section and the "Family Life" column for the Life section. He also writes an automotive column, “Test Drive,” for the Business section. For 13 years, Kennedy was features editor of the newspaper, and before that he was the newspaper’s first Sunday editor. The Times Free Press Life section won the state press award for ...

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jhall said...

paul and lauren are my two favorites...very different, but i love their energy and their love of performing. so it's nice to hear that they're close. this is a tough competition for anyone of any age, but it's especially good for lauren to have a big brother figure to lean on.

April 8, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
tessie said...

Lauren is our "Georgia Diamond." We here in SE Tennessee are so proud of her and of Paul as well. God bless them both, for their lives are about to change in ways they could never imagine! As for Lauren, this young woman comes from such a loving, dedicated, strong family. Go Lauren Go! We love you doll!

April 9, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.
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