published Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Suddeth, McDonald hope to advance on 'Idol' tonight

Although he got no face time on last week's episodes of "American Idol," Paul McDonald still is in the running to become a semifinalist on the FOX network's top-rated talent show.

"I saw him once, sitting in the auditorium when the cameras scanned the crowd, but I know he advanced last week," said his mother, Susan McDonald, a physical therapy instructor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

McDonald and Lauren Alaina Suddeth, daughter of Kristy and J.J. Suddeth, of Rossville, will sing tonight in the fourth and final Hollywood Round of "American Idol," hoping to advance to Thursday's sudden death sing-off in Las Vegas.

At the end of Thursday's episode, the 20 semifinalists will be revealed. Viewer voting will begin following Tuesday night's live performances.

In a conference call with media last week, "Idol" Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe explained that a fourth Hollywood Round was added because judges brought the largest number of contestants in the show's history to Los Angeles.

"It was something like 327 [people]. We knew it was going to be really tough," Lythgoe said.

"The judges have been careful in giving people a second opportunity because everybody screws up with nerves ... and the fact is that some kids who even got through to the 40 and down to the final group were given second and third chances to do so," he said.

Follow local contestants in "American Idol" here.

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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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