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Image: Lauren Alaina
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Crowds poured into a Chattanooga, Tenn. arena for a watch party Wednesday night to see whether local favorite, Lauren Alaina could pull off a victory in the "American Idol" final.
updated 5/25/2011 11:21:52 PM ET 2011-05-26T03:21:52

Crowds poured into a Chattanooga arena for a watch party Wednesday night to see whether local favorite, Lauren Alaina, who lives just across the state line in north Georgia, could pull off a victory in the "American Idol" final.

They were disappointed to see the 16-year-old songbird, of nearby Rossville, Ga., come in second when Scotty McCreery of North Carolina became the 10th American Idol.

Story: Hometown fans overjoyed with McCreery 'Idol' win

That didn't lessen their pride.

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At the Renaissance Center in Rossville, where Alaina's family and friends gathered to watch the results, there was quiet disappointment followed by applause for the winner.

"She's still a winner," said Linda Stephens, Alaina's grandmother told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. "She's going to go far, going to be a star — and that's not just Nana talking."

An Pruett, one of Alaina's many fans, said she's proud of her.

Story: Great Scott! McCreery wins 'American Idol'

"She's still a winner — she was the top female vocalist in this 'Idol' season. I think all of us Southerners have something to be proud of."

Tara Webb of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., told the paper that she and her husband voted more than 900 times Tuesday night. She said they were at Wednesday's watch party to support the Georgia singer whether she wins or loses.

Tara Webb held a sign that said "Lauren We Believe."

Another sign in the arena described her as "Just a Small Town Girl," a message that harkens back to the days when she would belt out Miranda Lambert's "Famous in a Small Town" at Magoo's Restaurant in East Ridge, Tenn.

Story: What happens to winners of 'Idol'?

Since she was 12 years old, Alaina performed at the restaurant every Wednesday night, singing hits such as "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Friends in Georgia and Tennessee said they weren't surprised she made the finals of American Idol.

"I didn't know when, I didn't know how, but I knew it was going to happen one way or another," said Jennifer Lawhorn, owner of Magoo's Restaurant.

Friends describe her as a "country girl" who loves cheerleading, volunteering with special needs children and singing any chance she gets. The straight-A student says "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood is one of her biggest musical influences.

Alaina sings in the hallways of Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School, always with a smile on her face, said friend Kaley Daniel.

"This is what she's always wanted. Ever since middle school, she's talked about 'American Idol,'" Daniel said. "It's her dream, and we support her all the way."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: 'American Idol' season 10 finale

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  1. Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

    "American Idol's" season 10 finale came down to two country singers, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, with McCreery claiming the crown. The finale was held at the Nokia Theatre LA Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25. A record-setting 122 million votes were cast. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Beyonce

    Beyonce rocked out with "Idol's" returning female finalists, performing her hit "Crazy in Love." (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. James Durbin and Judas Priest

    Fourth-place finisher James Durbin, right, once again gave metal a chance by performing with the heavy metal band Judas Priest. Durbin sang with band frontman Rob Halford on the songs "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jack Black and Casey Abrams

    "Kung Fu Panda 2" star Jack Black, left, and sixth-place finisher Casey Abrams performed "Fat Bottomed Girls" during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The top 13

    The top 13 contestants, from left, Thia Megia, Stefano Langone, Pia Toscano, Naima Adedapo, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Ashthon Jones, Paul McDonald, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez and Jacob Lusk performed together one more time. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga returned to the "Idol" stage again to perform her song "Edge of Glory." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Steven Tyler

    "Idol" judge Steven Tyler waved to the crowd as he walked onstage during the results show. His first season on the show was an eventful one. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jacob Lusk and Gladys Knight

    Jacob Lusk, who finished in fifth place, performed "Smile" with Kurt Franklin and Gladys Knight. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Tim McGraw and Scotty McCreery

    Before the winner was announced, country star Tim McGraw performed a duet of "Live Like You Were Dying" with finalist Scotty McCreery. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Beyonce and the girls

    Pia Toscano, Ashthon Jones, Beyonce and Naima Adedapo performed together during the "Idol" finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Marc Anthony and J.Lo

    Marc Anthony, who appeared on an earlier episode of "American Idol" this season, came back to perform during the finale. His wife, judge Jennifer Lopez, joined him onstage to show off her dance moves. (Kevin Winter/american Idol 2011 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The judges

    This year's "Idol" judging panel of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler acknowledged the crowd at the beginning of the finale show. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett

    Third-place finisher Haley Reinhart performed "Steppin' Out With My Baby" with legend Tony Bennett during the "American Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. The top guys

    The top six guys performed a group number during the "Idol" finale. They are, from left, Scotty McCreery, James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. "T-Boz" and "Chilli"

    Singers Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of TLC perform onstage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tom Jones and the guys

    The top 12 male finalists perform with special guest Tom Jones during the show's finale. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Carrie Underwood and Lauren Alaina

    Season four winner Carrie Underwood performed her hit song, "Before He Cheats," with finalist Lauren Alaina during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Does whatever a spider can

    Even Spiderman showed up for the finale. Bono and The Edge of U2 and Reeve Carney were caught in the superhero's web. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. And the winner is ...

    Finalists Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina held each other for support as host Ryan Seacrest prepared to announce the winner of "American Idol" season 10. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Rooting for Scotty

    Fans celebrate Scotty McCreery's victory during a viewing party held at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. McCreery is from Garner, N.C. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Great Scott!

    Winner Scotty McCreery hugs finalist Lauren Alaina as Jennifer Lopez hand him his trophy at the "American Idol" finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Group hug

    "Idol" contestants congratulate Scotty McCreery after he won. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Here comes the confetti

    Scotty McCreery celebrates with fellow contestants as confetti buries the stage. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. The new 'Idol'

    Scotty McCreery celebrates after being named the winner. The judges had all given a slight edge to Lauren Alaina the night before the results show. (Michael Becker / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Fox's "American Idol 2011" Finale - Results Show - Show
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (24) ‘American Idol’ season 10 finale
  2. Image: Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery
    Michael Becker / FOX
    Slideshow (71) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 13
  3. FOX
    Slideshow (25) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 24

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