Tag Archives: American Idol

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Lauren Alaina

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing the country music scene.

This week we are featuring Lauren Alaina, a twenty-four-year-old singer/songwriter from Rossville, Georgia. She began singing when she was just a toddler. She sang in church, with her family, in school, and in restaurants. When she was eight, she won the talent competition at the Southern Stars Pageant. She performed on stage at Chattanooga’s Riverbend Festival for the next four years. When she was ten, she competed with 1,500 kids to ultimately win the American Model and Talent Competition in Orlando, Florida. She made her very first trip to Nashville at the age of twelve, where she had the opportunity to play on Broadway at Tootsies. Like many teenage girls, Alaina struggled with her body image and battled bulimia. Since overcoming this, she has become an advocate for young women who are facing the same fight. She told People Magazine: “There are so many people who have eating disorders or who body shame themselves every day or have some sort of insecurity, and I feel like I have a direct reach to some of those people. When I finally healed, I wanted to help other people heal, because it’s a trap. It’s a horrible place to be in. You feel alone and you feel like no one understands. I decided to speak out because I wanted people to feel like there’s someone else out there that’s had to deal with it.”

Lauren Alaina’s music career really kicked off in 2011, when she was the runner up to Scotty McCreery on American Idol. Shortly after Idol, she landed her first record deal and released ‘Like My Mother Does.’ It sold 121,000 in its first week. It was just a couple of months later, in June, that she made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Lauren Alaina worked through the summer and dropped her debut album, ‘Wildflower’ in October 2011. It sold 69,000 copies the first week. To get people to notice her album, Alaina made multiple television and radio appearances. In January 2012, she was asked to join Jason Aldean on his My Kinda Party Tour. She also opened for Sugarland’s In the Hands of The Fans Tour. This same year, Alaina was awarded the ACM New Artist of the Year award. Over the next year, Lauren Alaina released several singles including: ‘Barefoot and Buckwild,’ ‘Next Boyfriend,’ and ‘Road Less Traveled.’ In April 2017, ‘Road Less Traveled’, a co-write with Meghan Trainor and Jesse Frasure, reached Number One on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. She released her second album, appropriately titled, ‘Road Less Traveled,’ in January 2017. She was asked to tour with Martina McBride on her Love Unleashed Tour and she also toured with Luke Bryan on his Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Every Day Tour. In October 2018. Alaina released a single, ‘Ladies in the 90s.’ We’re hoping this is going to be part of her next studio album.

Unfortunately, Lauren Alaina does not have any New England tour dates scheduled.

Be sure to download one of our favorites, ‘Road Less Traveled,’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Lauren Alaina by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, June 5th.

ABC Tries to Recapture the Magic of American Idol

The long-awaited season premiere of American Idol aired on ABC on Sunday, March 11th. This marked the first time that Idol returned to TV since 2016, when it wrapped up a fifteen year run on FOX. Just when we thought Idol was gone for good, ABC announced last year that they would revive the show for a 16th season much to the delight of fans. However, with this announcement came a lot of uncertainty. Would the format of the show remain the same? What would the chemistry be like between the judges? Would the show see the same success that it saw during its heyday? While we can’t completely answer all of these questions after the first few weeks, we did get a glimpse of what’s to come this season.

American Idol travelled to music hotspots New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Nashville to search for the top singers in the country. One of the best things about Idol is that it gives aspiring musicians, who might otherwise go unnoticed, a platform to showcase their skills. We’ve seen hopefuls from all walks of life try to earn that coveted golden ticket to Hollywood. It’s so uplifting to watch people get an opportunity to live their dreams after years of hard work. So far, the talent has been undeniable. Over the course of the first few rounds of competition there have been several amazing vocalists and inspiring performances. Some of the top contenders are Dennis Lorenzo, Layla Spring, Alyssa Raghu, Shannon O’Hara, Dominique, and Marcio Donaldson. Country singers Caleb Lee Hutchinson and Trevor McBane have also given us some fantastic performances and have a great chance at making it into the Top 14.

The judges are just as important to the success of American Idol as the contestants are. Nothing will ever compare to the original judging panel of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, however this season’s judges are doing their best to leave their own mark on the show. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan have great chemistry together. Their unique, fun personalities complement each other very nicely. They definitely know how to keep us entertained. We’ve seen everything from them playing pranks on one another to dancing and taking selfies with the contestants. Despite all of the fun, the judges are focused on finding top-notch talent to return American Idol to what it once was. Luke Bryan told reporters at a press conference in January, “that makes us focus harder as a judging panel because there are a few years where you don’t really remember those contestants. We want it to be right back to where American Idol is known for, building those American idols. And it’s each of us sitting around going, ‘Is this person going to be what we want them to be?’”

In addition to the judges, several artists, many of whom have country ties, are slated to make guest appearances on the show. Cam and Sugarland are performing with the top 24 contestants during the duet round. Country radio personality Bobby Bones will serve as the chief mentor for this season; while former Idol Scotty McCreery has also signed on to take part in a mentorship role.

American Idol has been a game changer for the music industry, especially country music. It’s given us superstar Carrie Underwood as well as rising artists Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, who are both on pace to have career years. Reigning Idol Trent Harmon is also well on his way to making a name for himself in country music. Will a new country star emerge from this season’s crop of talent? We’ll find out. For now, we get to sit back and watch to see if ABC can recapture the magic of one of the most iconic shows in television history.