02:08 AM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 05/24/2011 09:40PM
At the start of the final showdown at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre, Ryan Seacrest described the faceoff between Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina as "the boy-next-door versus the Southern belle."
Lauren, unfortunately, had also been doing battle with her own voice – or, more accurately, her voice had been doing battle with her.
During rehearsal she'd blown out a vocal cord. A doctor in black scrubs – wouldn't that cheer you up in the ER? – came out and explained that she'd been treated and would do "great."
Said Lauren: "I'm here, I'm ready to sing, and I'm fine. Don't worry about it."
She said this with a brave smile that was actually not all that reassuring.
Originally posted 05/24/2011 08:05PM
The drama and suspense for the American Idol finale started early Tuesday.
Lauren Alaina, 16, lost her voice and couldn't finish rehearsals, prompting producers to bring in third-place finisher Haley Reinhart as a possible last-minute replacement.
But after resting her voice, Alaina felt ready to compete in the teen showdown against 17-year-old Scotty McCreery.
"I'm here, I'm ready to sing. I'm fine, don't worry about it," she said on stage in a hoarse voice.
Originally posted 05/20/2011 06:00PM
When Haley Reinhart sang the line "So stick around, you're gonna hear electric music" from "Bennie and the Jets," she had no doubt in her mind that she would be doing just that … sticking around.
But after her long run on American Idol, the Chicago native, who had wound up in the bottom three four times this season, was eliminated on Wednesday night.
"I accepted it very quickly and took it with a grain of salt," says the singer, who adds that she's looking forward to "letting loose" on the Idol concert tour because she won't have to worry about being judged.
"I don't regret anything," says Reinhart. "I got a chance to show versatility and I was proud to do that. I wouldn't trade that in for the world."
Originally posted 05/19/2011 09:30PM
It's finale time!
Thursday night, American Idol's top three contestants – Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery and Haley Reinhart – faced the last elimination before next week's big finale, where one will be named the season 10 champ.
Keep reading to find out who will compete and who was thisclose to the big night but didn't make it.
Originally posted 05/19/2011 03:15PM
So, who deserves a spot in the finale?
American Idol's final three – Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery and Haley Reinhart – gave it their all on Wednesday. And by the end of the night's three rounds, there wasn't much between them.
The judges gave round one to Haley, who didn't let a little stumble get in the way of her rocking performance of Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be."
Round two went to Scotty for his rendition of Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."
Originally posted 05/18/2011 10:30PM
The two-hour show was partitioned into three rounds.
The singers got to pick what they wanted to perform, with mentoring hints from the lovely Beyoncé. Then they sang a selection by producer Jimmy Iovine and, finally, a selection by the judges.
Read on to see how the three American Idol finalists did.
Originally posted 05/15/2011 11:15AM
It rained on Haley Reinhart's parade, but that couldn't dampen the enthusiasm for the American Idol finalist's hometown visit on Saturday.
Returning to an unseasonably cold and unrelentingly rainy Wheeling, Ill., Reinhart remained upbeat and grateful, tearing up at nearly every stop as hundreds, sometimes thousands, of sign-waving, clapping, screaming fans lined a parade route and cheered her on throughout the day.
"I feel a sense of such appreciation," Reinhart told PEOPLE, "So I feel like I've already won."
Originally posted 05/13/2011 12:30PM
And then there were three.
With James Durbin shockingly out of the running as of Thursday night, Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are left vying for the season 10 title on American Idol.
As the remaining contestants return to their hometowns for what's sure to be an emotional episode next week, Idol fans may still be scratching their heads and wondering who will win.
Originally posted 05/13/2011 08:45AM
Ryan Seacrest put Wednesday night's vote at 72 million, the highest ever for a top four – a quartet on the cusp of being reduced to a trio who'll be celebrated by their hometowns on next week's show.
It turned out that Randy Jackson's recent prediction was inaccurate: James, the high-decibel rocker with the highly emotional back-story, was eliminated after being in the bottom two with country guy Scotty.
"I worked so damn hard to get here and, God, I was really hoping to get there," James said, his voice shaking with tears while Jennifer Lopez cried from the panel. "I did so much stuff that's never been done on this show before ... In my eyes, in my mind ... I did what I came here to do, and that was to give metal a chance!"
Originally posted 05/12/2011 07:30AM
Thematically, Wednesday's American Idol show was a jackalope, a hybrid creature that didn't make much sense.
The four finalists were expected to sing two songs – one inspiring, the other moving. But isn't an inspiring song moving? Not only that, but the "moving" song would be from the vintage pop-rock catalog of songwriters Leiber and Stoller. At that point – the second half of the show – producer Jimmy Iovine, absent during the first 45 minutes, showed up with the funny, fabulous, totally non-vintage Lady Gaga as the night's mentor.
Gaga seemed to be wearing a wig made from a panda – something similar to her hair at the end of her "Judas" video – and was shot sitting against a white background.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Patrick Dempsey Said He Was 'Spread So Thin' Before Divorce
Anonymous Donor Offers $20,000 to Find the Person Who Stuffed a Starving Pit Bull in a Suitcase
Couple Married for 68 Years Die Just a Few Hours Apart
California Father Arrested for Allegedly Killing His 3-Week-Old Daughter
Keira Knightley on Her Unique Name: 'My Mum's Crap at Spelling'
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!