published Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Lauren Alaina Suddeth suddenly has new momentum

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    In this publicity image released by Fox, Lauren Alaina performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Ray Mickshaw)

SUSAN PIERCE: I was so proud of our girl Lauren Alaina Suddeth’s comeback last week after a lackluster previous week. While there really wasn’t one performance I thought stood out above the others, I did think Lauren and Stefano Langone were the two best of the evening.

The Top 11 are singing songs of Motown tonight. I think this will be a test for finalist Scotty McCreery. It’s going to cramp his country style. However, he could probably pull off an interesting interpretation of “My Girl” with that bass voice.

LISA DENTON: Or maybe a little Marvin Gaye? That bass voice on “Let’s Get It On”? Oh, yeah.

There’s enough variety in Motown that I think he’ll find something. And the Motown theme should give the week some cohesion. Last week was all over the map since the singers pulled from so many years.

I also thought Stefano did well last week. I think it has been a little harder for him to stand out since he’s more of a crooner, and he’s up against two crazy-eyed rockers: James Durbin and Casey Abrams. His version of “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” wasn’t Teddy Pendergrass good, but he did show that he could break out and sing. That performance changed my mind about his chances.

The biggest surprise of the night for me was that Haley Reinhart made it through. I think we’ll be at least three girls down, maybe four, before any of the boys are sent packing.

SUSAN: I thought the real question in last Thursday’s “American Idol” results show wasn’t who was going home. Viewers could practically hear the death knell sound Wednesday when Karen Rodriguez walked onstage dressed like a Jennifer Lopez wannabe singing yet another ballad, even though judges had urged her for two weeks to step it up. Even her wrapped-bun hairstyle mimicked a style Lopez frequently wears.

To me the big question Thursday night was: What’s happened to Fergie? The Black Eyed Peas’ female singer looked glam channeling Marilyn Monroe, but that just wasn’t the Fergielicious we know and love.

Within minutes after Ryan Seacrest signed off, Internet message boards lit up with speculation of pregnancy or plastic surgery. There were even allegations it was a substitute singer.

A Fake Fergie? Really?!

I think she tweaked something with plastic surgery.

LISA: It was a weird night all around. Besides “fake” Fergie, did you catch the moment when they censored Pia Toscano for talking about her dog. It’s a shih tzu, otherwise known to the Fox censors as a (bleep)-zu. It might have made sense if a trigger-happy censor had silenced the phrase in a live interview, maybe listening for sounds and not context. But this was a taped segment and, last time I checked, shih tzu is not a profanity.

Also strange was Lauren Alaina announcing, in English, that she speaks only one language: Spanish. I thought maybe they were trying to set her up as speaking “hillbilly” or something, and they did start in on her accent. I’m with her. What accent? She sounds fine to this Southern girl.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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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