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Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

'IDOL' THOUGHTS

While Jacob Lusk exited "American Idol" last night, my original pick to win the series' 10th season, Lauren Alaina, appeared even more shaken to be in the bottom two.

Josh and Jen of the fun "Idle Review" podcast keenly summed up Alaina's trajectory last week in noting that viewers feel like an extra set of her parents, pulling for the endearing 16-year-old to realize the potential of her beautiful voice.

Jimmy Iovine (unlike Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler, who inexplicably, and somewhat unfeelingly, claimed "there's nothing to judge," in place of offering constructive assistance) accurately critiqued on last night's (May 5) episode that Alaina held back on hitting the expected soaring notes in her performance Wednesday of "Unchained Melody."

By comparison, a fellow rising teen country singer took the song to greater vocal heights - and to No. 3 on Country Songs - in 1997:

Still, Alaina has provided one of the season's highlights in her cover of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind."

Next week, the burgeoning omelet cook and the rest of the remaining top four finalists take on the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. While the songwriters are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends who penned such iconic compositions as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock," such a theme choice furthers the trend of "Idol" pairing a cast of young contestants with songs from decades earlier.

(As MTV's Jim Cantiello Tweeted, "Leiber & Stoller? [blows dust] At this rate, the Top 3 theme will be English Renaissance Songs!"

Probably not. Perhaps, however, "Caveman Grunt Songs ... Your favorites take on some of the first sounds ever uttered by humans. This ... is 'American Idol'!")

Have a great weekend, and, as always, follow Billboard.com's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol" and please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing askbb@billboard.com.

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