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Interview with ‘Idol’ runner up Lauren Alaina

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AP photo of Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina still needs work on high heels. She wobbled and fell down some stairs earlier this month, her sprained ankle landing in a cast for a couple weeks.

The cast came off earlier this week and she was able to perform on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City without it.  “I’m so glad to be out of that darn thing,” said the 16 year old rising junior from Rossville, Ga, in a phone interview earlier this week from Grand, Prairie, Tx, the next stop on the48-city tour. “It drove me nuts that I couldn’t walk across the stage. I had to hop. People had to help me up and down the stairs.”

Off stage, she said she had to be escorted by wheelchair to get from one place to another. “It was hard to go quickly with crutches,” she said. “It was so embarrassing [to be in a wheelchair.] People laugh at what happened. It’s not really funny.”

Fortunately, Alaina said the sprain healed relatively quickly. She’ll be ambulatory, in other words, come July 26  for the sold-out Gwinnett Arena date.

On the vocal side, she said she’s had her share of struggles, especially that blown-out vocal cord before the finale. She said it’s now “much clearer and so much better.”  And she’s enjoying the concert experience, getting to see people’s faces rather than a TV camera.

For the concert, she picked her favorite from “Idol,” “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. She also sings her single “Like My Mother Does.” She let the producers select the third song, which ended up being The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.” And she does a duet with Scotty McCreery, the winner.

I then asked her about whether she thought she’d make it to the finals once the final three were she, Haley Reinhart and Scotty. “I thought I was going home,” she said, under the presumption two country singers couldn’t possibly make it to the finals.

She expects at least 100 family and friends will travel from the Chattanooga area to Duluth to see her, including her beloved cousin Holly, who was at her first audition.

In the meantime, she has picked all her songs for her first album. Now she has to do the vocal tracks. “I love upbeat songs that people can dance and have fun,” she said. “But I also love country music that tells a great story. I think I got some of both.” Among the writers she’s working with includes Brett James (who helped write “Flat on the Floor” and “Jesus Take the Wheel” for Carrie) and Luke Laird (Carrie’s “So Small”) She hopes a song or two she helps write will make it on the album.

Does she feel the pressure? “Absolutely. I’m definitely nervous about it. ‘American Idol’ is all cover songs. I now have to do songs nobody has ever heard before. It’s going to be interesting to see how people respond.”

After the tour in September, she plans to spend some down time with her family. She enters 11th grade, too. Clearly, she’s going to have to get a lot of private tutoring presuming she’ll have to do a lot of promotion for her new album.

For now, during concerts, when there are breaks, she naps. “I can sleep anywhere,” she said. “I can lay in the middle of a road and fall asleep!”

One interesting tidbit: the women are not allowed on the guy’s bus and vice versa. But Lauren says the guys are far messier than the ladies, based on what she’s seen in their dressing rooms.

And her clearest memory of that trip to the Atlanta Lenox Square Mall Microsoft Store opening in late May? “I told a joke on stage. I said I was never so happy to have my hair frizzed out. There is no humidity in California. But the minute I came to the South, my hair went crazy. And I was happy!”

ADDENDUM: While sales are going well in most parts of the country, tickets, I’m told, are still on sale in Orlando, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philly, DC, and Albany.

33 comments Add your comment

JTesla

July 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

Thanks Rodney!

Deirdre

July 22nd, 2011
1:33 pm

She’s a sweetheart.

And no, sprained ankles are not funny…in some cases you might rather have broken the ankle than sprained it. My son got a bad sprain playing soccer and after weeks of caring for it he finally had to have surgery, then more weeks of range of motion exercises, pain and crutches and it still gives him problems 10 years later.

Rickster

July 22nd, 2011
1:36 pm

Thanks for the interview, Rodney. It’s nice to know she’s still a good kid.

Rickster

July 22nd, 2011
1:39 pm

Plus… it took “the guy who finished second to Kris Allen (you know, Kris, the guy who actually won?)” off the front page!

Harriett

July 22nd, 2011
1:43 pm

I can sympathize with an ankle injury, be it sprain or break. I am not good with crutches. Think it has to do with lack of upper-body strength, since I cannot seem to get myself up stairs. People kept telling me “just swing your good foot up here…” Yeah, right. You can do that if you can hold yourself up on the crutches. So glad Lauren is now off both the crutches and the wheelchair.

Gina Dye

July 22nd, 2011
2:17 pm

Thanks Rodney. I love Lauren. She is beautiful and talented. Like Steven Tyler said, she is all in one package.

G

July 22nd, 2011
2:59 pm

In addition to working on high heels, high notes should be a bigger priority. IJS

Harriett

July 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

Well, I am headed off on a week’s vacation. I will peek in and see what y’all are talking about if I can drag myself off the beach long enough. ;) Hope all of you have a good weekend! North Myrtle Beach is calling my name!

JTesla

July 22nd, 2011
3:38 pm

Enjoy the beach Harriett… wish I was going!

Harriett

July 22nd, 2011
3:41 pm

Thanks, JT! Out of here now!

Rodney Ho

July 22nd, 2011
4:06 pm

If you want to read more details about how she’s probably putting her album together, the MJ fans here are commenting about this entry:

http://mjsbigblog.com/lauren-alaina-hopes-her-co-writes-make-the-album.htm

Just sayin'

July 22nd, 2011
4:35 pm

She’s actually 16 (she’ll be 17 in November). I love Lauren!! I really think she has one of the finest female voices in country music ever! I hope that she will have a very successful and happy career. She’s got the kind of personality that will help her go far too – very sweet and friendly girl.

[...] American Idol [...]

Mercedes S.

July 22nd, 2011
7:33 pm

BUT, Rickster, will Lauren get close to Adam’s 100 comments??

409musiclover

July 22nd, 2011
8:15 pm

Lauren Alaina is an amazing country singer and more. She is so funny and genuine. I know she is going to be amazing in the country industry and corssover.

camila

July 22nd, 2011
9:00 pm

I love laurennnnnnn!!!!!!!!! she has an amazing voice and i’m so proud of her

Neg Haleysox

July 23rd, 2011
9:44 am

JTesla

July 23rd, 2011
12:57 pm

I’m surprised Amy Winehouse made it to 27.

Deirdre

July 23rd, 2011
1:55 pm

Me, too, JT. Sad but inevitable.

Mercedes S.

July 23rd, 2011
1:56 pm

Amy Winehouse, what a sad, wasted life.

Seth T

July 23rd, 2011
2:27 pm

http://tv.msn.com/reality-tv/american-idol-top-earners/story/?GT1=28103

American Idol moneymaker news. Look at Jordin Sparks earnings – some folks don’t hear much about her because they don’t watch MTV or VH1 much or listen to top 40 pop/rock, so it’s assumed that she isn’t doing anything. and Seacrest? In the top tax bracket.

Deirdre

July 23rd, 2011
5:12 pm

The article that Seth linked is interesting and surprising. Forbes .com has listed the top 10 moneymaking Idols for the last 12 months.

1. Carrie $20 million

2(tie)Daughtry 6 million
Adam Lambert 6 m

4.Fantasia 4 m

5. Jordin Sparks 3 m

6. Kelly Clarkson 2.5 m

7. Jennifer Hudson 2 m

8. Kellie Pickler 1.8 m

9. Clay Aiken 1.5 m

10(tie) Kat McPhee 1 m
David Archuleta
David Cook

Mercedes S.

July 23rd, 2011
5:31 pm

Jay, Adam – six million!

Mercedes S.

July 23rd, 2011
5:32 pm

I meant YAY Adam…

Dorothy Coleman

July 23rd, 2011
6:26 pm

Lauren was blessed with GOD given talent. Golden voice, beauty, personality & outgoing.

JTesla

July 23rd, 2011
7:27 pm

Wow, Clay is still pulling in money too. Very nice.

JTesla

July 23rd, 2011
7:28 pm

Saw Harry Potter in 3D, great film of course, but I love going watching it in an empty theater. First warm dry day we’ve had in weeks. Whew it might get above 85. Can’t take the heat!

Harm

July 23rd, 2011
9:13 pm

I’m sure your niece that moved to Augusta can tell you some inferno stories about the South!!!

Harm

July 23rd, 2011
9:14 pm

[...] Source [...]

Seth T

July 24th, 2011
4:21 am

I see Pia Toscano is doing a special promo video for Idol Season 11; complete with glamsexy beauty pics and definately not wearing a Gwen Stefani dress. Maybe it’s not so bad to be a 9th place finisher, sing on DWTS, get $100,000 for doing a few songs at a social gig, still get a record release & promo, go on tour – and after – personal appearance deals will be getting pretty pricey.

In some circles, Pia is already better known – name & image recognizable – than most of the other top 8. She got millions of dollars worth of free advertising (so to speak) on T.V., radio, newspaper and magazine – over her shocking elimination.

Mercedes S.

July 24th, 2011
8:33 am

Definitely, Seth T!
And good morning!

katty

July 27th, 2011
12:18 am

i hope she will go far ‘coz she is a real talent.she has nice voice, beauty and personality.