05/24/2011 AT 8:05 PM ET
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.