Lauren Alaina is celebrating what has been the biggest year of her life – 2011. She leaps right in to 2012 with a live performance from Las Vegas on the “American Country New Year’s Eve Live” special airing Friday, Dec. 31 on FOX (11:00 PM-12:30 AM ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed).
The Georgia native has been on a non-stop life-changing year after winning runner-up on Season 10 of American Idol in May of this year and signing her record deal when she was just 16 years old. After spending only very few days at home this entire year, Alaina is looking forward to getting back to her home in Rossville, GA, for several days to spend Christmas and enjoy some quality time with her family and friends. “Christmas for me is always about spending time with friends and family,” says Alaina. “We eat, laugh, eat and eat! Being away so much over the past year has made me even more thankful for the time I do have with them.
“That is the one thing I most want for Christmas is that time with my family and friends,” she says. “However, if Santa wants to bring me some makeup I would be extra happy!” She smiles and adds, “I am looking forward to giving good presents this year too!”
Alaina, known for her sweet dedication and gratitude to her fans, also adds, “I want my fans to enjoy the holidays season with the people that mean the most to them.”
Reflecting on the past year, the rising young star is constantly amazed at some of the wonderful life and career-changing events that have happened to her.
“I have had a lot of ‘pinch me’ moments over the past year,” says the now 17-year-old singer/songwriter. “I would have to say singing at the Grand Ole Opry is still something that I am taken aback by. I have dreamed of being on that stage for as long as I can remember.” Alaina made her Grand Ole Opry debut on June 9, shortly after American Idol.
She was recently invited to be part of her first official country tour, joining Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan for Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” Arena Tour kicking off in January 2012. “I am really looking forward to being part of this tour,” beams Alaina. “I can’t wait to perform my album in a live setting and hopefully gain some new listeners in the process.”
Another highlight of Alaina’s year, outside of releasing her debut album Wildflower, was being invited to perform at the White House for the PBS special Country Music: In Performance At the White House. “Performing for the President and First Lady at the White House was such an honor and something I will always remember. The highlight was standing on the stage with all of those country legends and seeing the President and First Lady in the front row.”
Her debut album Wildflower was released in October, landing at No. 2 on the Billboard’s Top Country Album chart and an impressive No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. She became the youngest female artist to debut this high on the Billboard charts since LeAnn Rimes’ debut 15 years ago and is the best-selling country female debut since 1996.