“American Idol” sweetheart Lauren Alaina certainly won’t be on her own when she celebrates New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas as part of Fox’s “American Country New Year’s Eve Live.” “I’m bringing quite a few people with me — my Mama and Daddy, my brother and his girlfriend, and my three best girlfriends from home,” the Rossville, Georgia native tells us. Alaina, who turned 17 last month, adds, “I don’t really know what I can do in Vegas. Maybe my parents can win some money.”
Alaina has barely taken any time off since she first auditioned for “Idol’s” tenth season in 2010. She wound up runner-up to fellow teenage country phenom Scotty McCreery in May — and won the hearts of music fans across the land. Since then, she’s toured with the “Idol” finalists, performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage (her dream come true) and other big-time gigs, and released her first album, “Wildflower,” which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Come Jan. 20, she hits the road again, with Jason Aldean’s My Kind of Party tour.
“‘American Idol’ kind of prepared me to work really hard all the time, seven days a week,” she says. “It was like boot camp for everything happening now. I’m good at staying out on the road — and I wouldn’t want to take a break and miss an opportunity, if one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals came along.”
Outside of the Party tour, she’s not sure what’s ahead in 2012. “I just want it to be as good a year as 2011 has been. It’s been such an incredible year, so many doors have opened to me that I dreamed of opening. Literally everything I’ve ever wanted to do, I’ve been able to do in the past year.”
So what’s next? Has Hollywood come calling?
“I have discussed that a little bit,” Alaina replies. “Some day I’d love to do acting, but I feel I’m not really ready for it in my career.”
Right now, of course, she’s focused on “American Country New Year’s Eve Live.” Comedian and actor Rodney Carrington hosts the show along with “Pawn Stars” personalities Rick Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell. Rodney Atkins, the Eli Young Band and Toby Keith are among the performers, along with Alaina. “It’s such an honor to be part of it, I’m really excited. I haven’t gone to that many concerts, but Rodney Atkins — he’s one of them I went to, out to the Riverbend Festival near my town. So now, to get to perform at the same place he’s going to be at is really exciting. And I’ll get to have my Daddy meet Rodney Carrington. He’s a fan.”