What: American Idol Live!
When: Tuesday, Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., 7 p.m.; Saturday, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, 7 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Eastern.
Tickets: $5-$65 plus handling fees.
For more information: www.americanidol.com.
Tuesday is the deadline to enter the Dress Lauren Alaina contest sponsored by the Times Free Press. Entries must be delivered to the newspaper, 400 E. 11th St., by 6 p.m. Download the contest's paper doll silhouette here. Use colored pens, paint, scraps of fabric, rhinestones or sequins to create a look for the Rossville singer. The contest winner will receive two tickets to the American Idol Live tour in Nashville on Saturday. The winner will receive two tickets to Saturday's Idol concert in Nashville.
A year ago this month, Lauren Alaina Suddeth was in Nashville, an unknown Rossville, Ga., teenager among 17,000 aspiring singers hoping to impress the judges of "American Idol."
Saturday night, she'll return to Bridgestone Arena - but this time as one of the Top 11 singers from Season 10 of the Fox TV hit. Rossville's singing sensation is one of the headliners of the American Idol Live tour, which also stops in Atlanta on Tuesday.
The teenager said in a telephone interview that she still can't believe all that has happened within one year's time.
"Literally, I cannot. I think about it sometimes, and I can't even talk about it - I start stuttering, and it just blows my mind," she said.
Jake Suddeth, the singer's cousin, said about two dozen family and friends are traveling to Nashville to welcome Lauren home. Until then, dad J.J. Suddeth is celebrating in Facebook posts about his daughter's new EP, which is available exclusively on walmart.com. The self-titled EP has five tracks, all songs Lauren performed on "Idol," and sells for $5.
American Idol Live launched July 6. Three nights later, Lauren suffered a severe ankle sprain in a backstage fall during intermission. Knowing the show must go on, the trouper pulled on her cowboy boots, limped back onstage to open the second half and finished the show. She even rolled herself out in a wheelchair for the meet-and-greet with fans afterward.
The teen has been hobbling on crutches since then with her foot in a boot, which she "bedazzled" and posted pictures of on Facebook. She said she started removing the boot during performances last week.
Lauren talked about her "Idol" highlights, the tour and her upcoming album. She also hinted that she hasn't ruled out the possibility of a return to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School this fall.
Q: With all the celebrities you met and the experiences you had on "American Idol," was there an unforgettable moment?
A: Actually, there were two: getting to sing with Carrie Underwood in the finale and my first trip home during "American Idol" when I made the top three. I asked my daddy, "Do you think anybody's going to show up?" (More than 10,000 fans turned out to welcome the singer home.)
Q: Tell me about American Idol Live. What do you sing on the show?
A: There are groups singing together on the tour who didn't sing together on the show, so there are new, fun and interesting combinations. There are some duets, trios, quartets, a girls number, a guys number and everyone has their own solos.
All my solos are songs I performed on the show: "Flat on the Floor" by Carrie Underwood, "Like My Mother Does" (Lauren's current single), and "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. I have a duet with Scotty that no one has heard us do before and a bunch of numbers with the girls.
The show is about two hours, 45 minutes. There is a meet-and-greet after the show for fans who wait to see us.
Q: Are you working with Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw/Faith Hill's producer) on your album?
A: Yes. I've already started my album. They are laying the last tracks with the band in Nashville now. I'm going to record in Nashville and Atlanta, and I'll be finished with my recording.
Q: How did you choose songs for the record?
A: I did lots and lots of listening and eliminating. It was a long process but a lot of fun because I got to hear how different people write, and I got to write for the album. We'll see if any of my originals make it onto the album.
Q: You're going to be part of the CMA Music Fest television special that's on ABC on Aug. 7. Where did the camera crew tape you?
A: They followed Scotty and me signing autographs at Music Fest, when I sang with Martina McBride at Music Fest and performed at the Opry.
Q: What's next after the tour? Will you return to LFO?
A: I'm still working on that. I'm going to graduate from LFO; I just haven't found out exactly how things will work out. But I would love to go back to school just for a few months. Hopefully, I'll be back for fall semester - we'll just see how it goes.
Once the tour is over, I'm going to come home, spend some time in Georgia because I miss it. I want to sleep in my bed again.