What started out as a dream became one week closer to a reality last night as Rossville teen Lauren Alaina made yet another cut on Fox’s hit reality show "American Idol" to become part of the competition’s final seven contestants.
In what was a bittersweet results show for the community, fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief for Alaina, who still has yet to be part of the “bottom three” in any results show this season, but were unable to do the same for Paul McDonald of Nashville, Tenn., who was sent home after a strong “Idol” run.
“It’s OK,” McDonald said after receiving the news. “It’s been a good ride.”
After kicking off Wednesday’s performances with his version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll,” McDonald, the son of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga professor Susan McDonald, then closed the show by reprising his rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” as his family, friends, fans and co-competitors listened with a bit of sadness and even some tears.
Although fans will surely miss Paul’s energy and voice, the show will also not be the same without his flashy suits that undoubtedly would make Porter Wagoner a very proud man.
As for Alaina, she will sing another day on the “Idol” stage after a week that saw her further cement her place in the competition with a strong performance of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” from “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
“I picked this song because it’s about a young girl struggling to reach her dreams,” Alaina explained during Wednesday’s telecast. “This song is perfect for what I’m doing right now. ... Everything about the song just screams ‘Idol.’”
Before finding out she was safe Thursday night, Alaina and fellow contestant Scotty McCreery treated the “Idol” audience to a duet of the popular Lady Antebellum hit “American Honey,” which was a little ironic due to the 16-year-old having a similar look and vocal style of Lady A’s Hillary Scott.
As the competition begins to enter the final stretch run, and as the number of contestants fans can vote for continues to shrink, Alaina’s chances of realizing her dream get better with each passing week.
“American Idol” will air Wednesday, April 20, and Thursday, April 21, at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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