Lauren's hometown of Rossville, Georgia -- population 3,500 -- was devastated by the twisters ... leaving most homes without power, land lines, or mobile phone service.
Now Lauren's friends and family tell TMZ they're concerned because Lauren's main supporters couldn't see the show and weren't able to vote.
One friend said, "It would be a travesty if she was taken off the show because of an Act of God" -- and another added, "I do believe the weather should be taken into consideration when it comes to the voting."
One friend who was outside the damage zone tells us she voted more than usual for Lauren ... and made online appeals for others to do the same.
Will it be enough to get Lauren into the top 5?
25-year-old Paige Miles -- who claimed 11th place on the show -- was on her way home from rehearsal in Florida ... when something went terribly wrong and her SUV caught on fire.
Miles, who documented the terrifying incident on her Facebook page, explained, "The electric shut down, the car doors wouldn't open, i jumped out my window and watched my mother's Envoy blaze."
Moments after she emerged from the fiery wreck, Miles said she was crying and shaking ... and her blood pressure was through the roof ... but she didn't seem to have suffered any major injuries.
Afterward, Miles took photos of the charred remains of her mom's ride -- pretty damn scary.
TMZ spoke with Barreto -- a Top 24 finisher -- who tells us he reached out to Secada after performing the Grammy winner's hit song "Angel" ... hoping to get some feedback from his idol.
Jon told the kid he was impressed -- and offered to take 23-year-old Barreto under his wing ... "kind of like a mentor of sorts."
Jovany immediately moved to Miami to pursue the opportunity -- and Secada tells us there are plans in the works to record something together in the very near future.
Secada adds, "I think he's a very talented singer and can be a great asset to the music industry singing both in English and Spanish."
The music video shoot will go down Monday.
By the way ... Tyler has a memoir called "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?" coming out on May 3.
It's been in the works for a while -- and an hour ago, the deal was sealed.
Pia's performance signifies a borderline incestuous cross-pollination between the two biggest shows on TV ... "American Idol" and "Dancing."
And if that's not enough -- Pia will be back on "Idol" tomorrow for a special cast-off reunion.
As we previously reported, Pia and Mark went out on a date the NIGHT AFTER she got the boot from "Idol" ... and have since ratcheted up their romance.
There's a report out that Pia unceremoniously dumped her caterer boyfriend Carlos Nunez to trade up to Ballas.
But our "Dancing with the Stars"/"American Idol" spies tell us ... Carlos was history long before Mark entered the picture.
Check out the pics we got of Pia and her ex. Ah, what could have been.
It all started back in February 2009 -- when cops cited Jacob for riding on an L.A. metro train without buying a ticket. Jacob blew off his court hearing and an arrest warrant was issued.
Fast forward to Nov. 2010 -- a day after Jacob auditioned for "Idol" and got his golden ticket to Hollywood -- Lusk was pulled over for a traffic stop. The cop discovered the warrant and arrested him.
Jacob went to jail and then to court the next day and pled no contest to the train-hopping charge. He was sentenced to 3 days in jail and 2 years probation.
Jacob served his time and then went back to court, telling the judge "Idol" wouldn't let him on the show if he was on probation. After his emotional plea, the merciful judge terminated his probation.
Fun Fact -- On night one in the pokey, Jacob sang to 170 inmates, who liked it a lot. Thing is, the guard wasn't a fan, screaming through the loud speaker, "This isn't a f**king singing contest."
Undaunted, we're told Lusk sang over the next day-and-a-half, preparing for "Idol." And on his last day, Lusk sang a farewell song, and another guard went on the loud speaker and said it was "bad ass!"
UPDATE: Lusk tweeted this morning, "I've been through a whole lot more than folks would know in this lifetime...BUT GOD has KEPT ME...and I am so thankful! Be blessed!"
Sources connected with tonight's Minneapolis reunion show tell TMZ, Dr. Chris Kammer -- a giant toothbrush-carrying dentist who was cast off early in the season -- contacted the show organizer and fellow reject Caleb Hawley ... to see if they needed an MC.
Caleb wasn't into the idea -- and responded to Dr. Chris via email, writing, "Though I really appreciate your offer to MC, I think we'll hold this one down on our own."
Caleb offered to put Dr. Chris on the guest list for the show -- which also features Chris Medina and Carson Higgins -- but that wasn't good enough ... because we're told, Dr. Chris plans to protest in front of the venue before the performance.
Kauffman appeared on "Good Morning America" this AM, where she explained how the whole ordeal allegedly went down ... and also took the time to correct a few parts of her story that are circling around that AREN'T true.
Kaufman admitted she WASN'T forced to sit all the way in the back of the studio -- more like six rows back from the stage -- and that she DIDN'T have to sit alone without her friends.
As we first reported, "Idol" honchos are calling BS on Kauffman, saying, "We always strive to assure that every audience member has the best experience possible, and these allegations are simply untrue."
Pia says she thinks we gave her good advice when she was in our office last week -- stand next to someone famous to fuel the rumor mill.
Pia and Mark hit it off so well during their date in L.A. on Friday, that Mark invited Pia back to the West Coast for another round of tonsil hockey ... and TO MEET HIS MOTHER.