DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Finale" - It all comes down to this as four celebrity and pro-dancer couples return to the ballroom to compete and win the Mirrorball trophy on the 11th and final week of the 2019 season of "Dancing with the Stars," live, MONDAY, NOV. 25 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) LAUREN ALAINA
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

‘American Idol’ notes: Lauren Alaina interview on sold-out headlining tour, Adam Lambert, season 18 previews

Originally posted Friday, February 7, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Lauren Alaina, now 25, is nearly a decade removed from coming in second on “American Idol” and her country music career is thriving.

She has a No. 1 solo single “Road Less Traveled” on her resuem and top two duets with Kane Brown and Dustin Lynch. She in nearing the end of her first sold-out headlining tour, finishing up Saturday night at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta.

“It’s been really exciting,” Alaina said in an interview Thursday. “I was so nervous. The feeling compared to being an opener is so different. People are there to see you. They know all my songs.”

She also got to put together a full 90-minute set, with three parts, as opposed to 30 to 45 minutes. 

“The first act is my life is Rossville, Georgia. The middle part is all  the things I’ve had to overcome [e.g.. sudden fame, vocal issues, eating disorders, her parent’s divorce, her dad’s drinking]. The last one is all about my accomplishments and things I want people to know about me. It’s such an emotional set list.”

The opportunity to do “Dancing With the Stars” disrupted her tour last fall, forcing her to move it to early 2020. 

In a way, it helped her. She was so busy recording music over the summer, she said she didn’t have enough time to design the tour. So once “Dancing With the Stars” ended, she had all of December to put together the set list. And for the first time, she got to pick an opener: male singer Filmore, who helps out with some duet singing during her set. 

As for “Dancing With the Stars” itself, Alaina had no idea how she’d do going in.

“I never took dance as a kid,” she said. “So I wasn’t sure. I’m known for being clumsy. I ended up doing pretty well. I made it to the finale!” (She finished fourth.)

She also made some great friends, especially former Fifth Harmony singer Ally Brooke, another finalist. 

And Alaina will be doing a handful of spot dates on the “Dancing With the Stars Live” tour though Kate Flannery of “The Office” will be joining the pros later this month at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

“I don’t know how they talked me into that,” Alaina said. “I’m very stressed about it. I”m afraid I won’t remember the steps.”

Proving how strenuous ballroom dance was, Alaina broke four ribs while practicing lifts with her dance partner Gleb Savchenko. Two months later, she said, “one of them still hurts when I turn a certain way.” One thing she learned: she has an impressive threshold for pain. 

Alaina’s finances are improving as her fortunes rise. She just bought a bigger four-bedroom house in Nashville.

But she won’t see much of her new home in the near future. 

As soon as this tour ends, she will return to opening act mode, this time for Blake Shelton, later this month.

And as a female country artist, she is glad the whole issue of gender parity (or lack thereof) has become a hot topic, with CMT enforcing a 50/50 rule on its airwaves. Country radio generally plays 80 to 85 percent male artists.

“It’s been a problem,” she said. “I just try to make the best of it.” 

Better news: male artists are frequently asking her to duet with them. Besides her hits with Kane Brown and Dustin Lynch, she has dueted with John Pardi, Hardy, Rascal Flatts and Chris Young. “I’ve had to turn people down,” she said. “It’s such a compliment. It’s cool to do different types of music. They each have their own sound and I get to compliment that sound and get to sing styles of songs I would never otherwise record myself.”

Here’s her current single “Getting Good”: 

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ARDYS: A RADIO DISNEY MUSIC CELEBRATION - Today's biggest and rising stars turned out for the ARDYs: A Radio Disney Music Celebration, music's biggest event for families, at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA on Sunday, June 16. The telecast of the seventh annual show, will be presented LIVE on SUNDAY, JUNE 16 (8:00 p.m. EDT/re-airing at 8:00 p.m. PDT), on Disney Channel and multiple Disney-branded platforms including the Radio Disney app, the DisneyNOW app and Disney.com/ARDYs. (Radio Disney/Image Group LA) GABBY BARRETT
Photo: Image Group LA/Radio Disney

“Idol” isn’t quite the launching pad it used to be.

Gabby Barrett told Billboard she struggled to get a record deal after “American Idol” despite finishing third in 2018. 

“It was actually really hard to get a record deal after ‘American Idol,’” Barrett told the magazine “I thought it might be easier, [being] on a platform that clearly people in the music industry are looking at, [but] nobody was wanting to sign.

But she released a catchy single in “I Hope” that SiriusXM The Highway picked up. Warner Music Nashville picked her up.  Now with label support, the song has climbed to No. 18 on the Mediabase country airplay chart. 

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Adam Lambert has a new album coming out next month “Velvet” and released a single “Roses” in advance of it.  The full-length album will include all the singles he has released over the past year “New Eyes,” “Feel Something” and “Comin’ in Hot.”

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ABC has released the names and photos of all the contestants who will appear on the first episode debuting Sunday, Feb. 16 for season 18.

One Atlantan is featured: 16-year-old Camryn Leigh Smith, a singer songwriter. Here is her Spotify page

She adores Adele, Jessie J and Sam Smith and released a single “A Way Out in 2019.

And here’s a promo featuring only judges’ reactions:

Lionel Richie has teased the during Hollywood week, there will be “head to head” duets, which sounds suspiciously like the Battle rounds on “The Voice.”

And if you love spoilers, the top 20 list is already on the Web

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Recent Kellyoke performances from her “Kelly Clarkson Show” covers rock (Foo Fighters, the White Stripes), ballads (Aerosmith), pop (Daya, Pink, Alannah Miles, Alex Clare, Post Malone) and country (Lee Ann Womack)

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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