Lauren Alaina Thanks 15-Year-Old Self for Her 'Braveness' in Trying out for 'American Idol'

Lauren Alaina's American Idol audition aired 10 years ago on Jan. 27, 2011, and the country star took a moment to reflect on the career-beginning moment in a post on social media on Wednesday. Alaina, who is known for her use of puns in her Instagram captions, wrote, "I can hardly sandal the fact that ten years ago my life completely flip-flopped (in more ways than one). I wish I could give this scrunchy-haired, rainbow dressing, waist belting and flip flop wearing 15-year-old girl the biggest hug in the world. Her braveness on January 27th, 2011 has given me everything I have now."

The now-25-year-old's audition opened with footage of Alaina in her hometown of Rossville, Georgia, spending time with her family and her cousin Holly, who Alaina shared is the reason she started singing. Back at the audition, Alaina stepped in front of judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson with Holly by her side, and instantly impressed them with a performance of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's "Like We Never Loved at All."

"Best we've seen today," Jackson declared, an even more meaningful compliment considering Alaina was the last audition of the day. "I'm blown away," he continued. "I'm sitting here like, 'She could have sang the whole thing, we were enjoying it that much.'" After Lopez told Alaina not to cry because she was going to make her cry, Tyler interjected, "I think you should cry. Because you're going to make 40 million people cry. Tears of joy."

After all three judges voted Alaina through to the Hollywood round, the then-teenager brought her family in the room and performed a brief rendition of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," her parents' song, with Tyler.

Alaina finished Idol as runner-up to Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery, who commented on her post, "So awesome lauren! Pretty wild looking back. Getting to duet w/ steven tyler for your idol audition is still pretty freakin bananas!!"


In the years since her season of American Idol, Alaina has released two studio albums, 2011's Wildflower and 2017's Road Less Traveled. She has earned two No. 1 songs, "Road Less Traveled" and "What Ifs," her duet with former middle school classmate Kane Brown, and released two EPs in 2020, Getting Good and Getting Over Him.