Tears are to be expected at any Idol elimination, but Lauren Alaina's meltdown during Thursday's elimination show was still a shocker, and the awkward tearfest had every contestant and judge trying to stop her waterworks.
So what had Lauren so upset, and who was the unexpected heartthrob of the night?
It's no surprise Lauren forged an close BFF bond with now-eliminated contestant Thia Megia: Being the youngest two in the competition, they both struggled with the fast lane of fame.
And it was Thia's place in the bottom three that first turned Lauren's smile upside down. Lauren tried to keep it together initially, but things went downhill fast as Paul McDonald was suddenly in danger of leaving the Idol stage. Paul is said to be Lauren's "big brother" figure, and when she was faced with the possibility of losing both Paul and Thia in one night, Lauren suddenly came unglued in front of the 680-person studio audience.
As she cried through the entire commercial break, Jacob Lusk had his arm around her to give her a pep talk, doing what he could to bring a smile to her face. Lauren barely clapped to Will.i.am and Jamie Foxx's performance and didn't even dry her tears when the two came over to say hello to the contestants. As Ryan Seacrest positioned himself center stage to announce the results of last nights 55 million votes, Lauren was getting more support from the couch and garnering more attention than the bottom three. It was a little shocking to see a contestant who wasn't even up for elimination so drastically lose control of her emotions.
It goes to show the genuine love and care Lauren had for her new friends, but it also begs the questions: Is 16 too young to be in a competition like this? While Thia and Naima Adedapo handled their elimination with smiles, grace and total class, Lauren remained inconsolable. In fact, after the cameras stopped rolling she received a much longer hug and extra attention from Steven Tyler and the other contestants, while Thia and Naima chatted with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
Although Lauren unintentionally grabbed the sympathy spotlight, it just didn't seem right for the elimination to be about her distress, when the attention should have been focused on Thia and Naima. (Right?)
Although we're sympathetic to Lauren's despair, it appears her longevity in the competition could be put in jeopardy. Unless she learns to manage her emotions, she could end up leaving the Idol spotlight, as the pressure and eliminations will only get more intense as Idol moves closer to the May 25 finale.
In another surprising turn of events, Scotty McCreery has proven to be the dark horse coming up to take the lead among the male competition. As we read signs from fans asking him to go to prom and listened to the almost deafening shrieks when Scotty was throwing T-shirts to the crowd, it's obvious he's favored among the ladies and he could prove to be James Durbin's toughest competition for female fans. Scotty got up more times to say hello to the crowd than any other contestant and proved he knows how to use his charm.
Other Things You Didn't See at Home:
Do you think Lauren was right to give into her emotions? Do you think Scotty is James' toughest competition? Should Idol raise the age of eligibility to compete next season? Let us know in the comments!