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A Southern singer with a bent toward contemporary country-pop, Lauren Alaina first came to the public's attention as the runner-up in the 2011 season of Fox's American Idol. She rode the momentum from her Idol win into the charts: her 2011 debut Wildflower peaked at number five on the Billboard Top 200. With "Road Less Traveled," the title track to her 2017 sophomore album, Alaina earned her first number one Billboard Country Airplay hit. Her knack for sunny anthems and slick ballads kept her in the Country Top 40, both as a duet partner -- her 2021 album Sitting Pretty on Top of the World featured cameos by Trisha Yearwood and Jon Pardi; she sang with Kane Brown on his 2017 number one "What Ifs" and with Hardy on his 2020 chart-topper "One Beer" -- and on her own.
Born in 1994 in Rossville, Georgia, Alaina grew up listening to country music and first began singing around age three. Prior to American Idol, she was a cheerleader at her high school and performed regularly around Georgia, where she won the WinniSTAR youth talent contest in 2009. She competed in the finals of the tenth season of American Idol against ultimate winner Scotty McCreery -- also a young country singer -- and eventually earned the silver medal.
After wrapping Idol, Alaina released the single "Like My Mother Does," which sold over 200,000 copies during its first two months of release and helped earn her a contract with Mercury Nashville. Her full-length debut album, Wildflower, followed several months later in 2011. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 and reached number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. In 2013, she released the single "Barefoot and Buckwild" and returned to American Idol to perform the song.
In 2017, Alaina released her sophomore full-length album Road Less Traveled, which featured the title track single co-written by Alaina, Meghan Trainor, and Jesse Frasure. Also included on the busbee-produced album was the single "Next Boyfriend." The set landed at number 31 on the Billboard 200 and number three on the Top Country Albums chart. Her greatest success in 2017 was as Kane Brown's duet partner on his number one Country Airplay hit "What Ifs."
In 2019, Alaina released a pair of singles -- "Ladies in the '90s" and "Getting Good" -- then, in 2020, she duetted with Hardy on his number one hit "One Beer" and with Dustin Lynch on "Thinking 'Bout You." Alaina released Sitting Pretty on Top of the World in 2021, an album that featured the Jon Pardi duet "Getting Over Him." ~ Matt Collar