Lauren Alaina Reveals She How She Conquered the 'Stigma' of Being on 'American Idol'

When American Idol premieres on Sunday, March 11, at least one former contestant will be watching – Lauren Alaina. The singer, who came in second to Scotty McCreery in Season 10 in 2011, remains a fan of the show, and was excited to see the show return to prime time.

"I'm glad it came back," Alaina shared with PopCulture.com at a recent media event. "I have my career because of American Idol. I would have moved to Nashville when I graduated high school either way. I just tried out for that show when I was 15. It happened a little sooner than I expected, but I am here because of that show. The fact that there are people out there that don't know that you have to move to Nashville and start writing with people in town and paying your dues in town– not everyone knows that everywhere you live. There are talented people all over the country that don't know that.

"For me, it worked out and I'm super thankful," continues Alaina. "I'm excited for the people on that show that are talented and have a dream and don't know another path."

Not that her path was smooth sailing after her time on the reality TV talent show. Alaina's freshman Wildflower album was released in 2011, with only one of the three singles from the record, "Georgia Peaches," cracking the Top 30. It wasn't until 2016, when Alaina released "Road Less Traveled," the second single and title track of her sophomore project that Alaina finally earned No. 1 hit. In other words, Alaina's time on Idol didn't translate into instant commercial appeal, as some, including maybe Alaina, anticipated would happen.

"The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome is the stigma that comes with being an American Idol contestant," Alaina admits. "I had to work really hard at country radio to overcome that reputation ... American Idol was beautiful in so many ways. With them you have instantaneous success. I mean, people know you. It's not really success. Some people think that's the easy way to get a career. I had to overcome that. I spent the last seven years doing that."

Alaina not only had a No. 1 hit with "Road Less Traveled," but she also sang on Kane Brown's "What Ifs," which became his first chart-toppings single as well.

"Last year was the first year of my career that I was really, really proud and felt like I went in the right direction and laid the foundation for the rest of my career," Alaina says.

Alaina is currently touring with Cole Swindell, serving as the opening act on his Reason to Drink Tour. She will also hit the road later this year, to serve as the opening act on Jason Aldean's 2018 High Noon Neon Tour. Dates are available on her website.

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Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will serve as judges on American Idol, which will premiere on Sunday, March 11, at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: LaurenAlaina.com