Susan Pierce: Tonight's "American Idol" finalists will be singing "Songs of the 21st Century." That's a broad time span, but it perfectly suits our local contestant, Lauren Alaina Suddeth, because she can draw from current country artists Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift.
Suddeth has been compared to Kelly Clarkson so much I'd really like to see her try one of Clarkson's hits from the last decade. Let's see how she matches up. I can easily picture Suddeth singing "Breakaway."
Coincidentally, Clarkson gave another shout-out to Suddeth on Facebook on Friday after the former "Idol" winner sang her No. 1 duet with Jason Aldean on Thursday night's episode. She posted: "All of the contestants are super-talented, but I can't help but root for Lauren! She has such an amazing texture to her voice."
Clint Cooper: That's saying a lot, Susan. I'm not much of a Kelly Clarkson fan, but she has cachet with "Idol" fans.
I think Haley Reinhart will be one of the next two contestants to leave the show, so that will leave Lauren clear sailing into the final three, if not the final two. Although I wasn't wild about her doing a Miley Cyrus song last week, it was a song that has youthful appeal, which is important for the voting.
A Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift song would be a good choice, and she probably won't have to worry about the "poor imitation"-type criticism Simon Cowell used to dish out when contestants sang a recent song by a current artist. This group of judges rarely offers any type of criticism, so as long as she doesn't forget the words or have a wardrobe malfunction she should be OK.
Susan: I agree with you about the Miley Cyrus song choice. At first I thought "Really?!" But the more I considered it, Suddeth really made a savvy choice because it was a hit her voting demographic would relate with, and it was totally age-appropriate for her.
I was surprised at how many times record producer Jimmy Iovine dissed the song choices made by finalists last week and made them change. Isn't his job to mentor and leave show production to Nigel Lythgoe? I was glad to see Suddeth and James Durbin didn't cave, but stood up for what they felt was true to themselves rather than change and sing a song their hearts weren't into.
Clint: Those moments made me again think about all the editing that goes into these shows and how it can impact the voting. Interesting.
I don't see hits of the 21st century being a natural make or break for any of the contestants. It's always interesting to see in what genre Casey Abrams will land and what Jacob Lusk will do, but Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone, Durbin and Reinhart shouldn't have any problems.