Oh, what a night for Lauren Alaina. The 27-year-old country singer was officially inducted and welcomed as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night (Feb. 12) by her friend/mentor Trisha Yearwood.
To kick off her induction, Alaina took the stage to perform her hit song with Kane Brown, “What Ifs,” before Yearwood was introduced to do the honors.
“A lot of people love you,” said Yearwood before introducing a video of Dolly Parton offering well wishes on the induction.
“You and I have a lot in common,” said Parton via video. “We both started young, we love country music and we love the Grand Ole Opry and I would give a million dollars if I could be there with Trisha and Garth and all the folks that love you to get you inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Nothing like it. I just want to wish you the best in your whole career and good luck with the Grand Ole Opry, we love you.”
“That’s pretty cool,” said Yearwood about the video. “What I have gotten to observe in knowing you for the couple of years I have known you is how genuine you are. I think country music is in good hands. You are exactly the kind of artist that the Opry loves, and wants and looks for. Usually when someone gets inducted they say ‘it’s on behalf of all the members of the Grand Ole Opry,’ and I’m going to say that, but I also want to say every single person from the house band to the crew, to who is parking cars, everybody tonight says how deserving you are and it’s about time. So on behalf of myself, all the members of the Opry, the crew, and everyone who is associated with the Opry, you are now officially a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Miss Lauren Alaina.”
Alaina, who was runner-up to Scotty McCreery on the 10th season of American Idol and has appeared on the Opry more than 50 times, was emotional as she stood in the circle on the Grand Ole Opry stage.
“Thank you. This is so awesome. Since I was a little girl I dreamed of this moment. Both of my parents raised me with a huge appreciation for country music and all that it is, and all of the people, including you (Yearwood) and Dolly Parton, who have come before me. I just want to say I promise to do everything I can to represent country music,” Alaina said. “I heard today that I am now the youngest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. That’s pretty cool, and I promise to represent this family well. I have felt like family here as long as I remember. Everyone at the Opry has always made me feel like family so for me to finally be officially in is the biggest dream come true of all time. Most little girls dreamed of their wedding; I dreamed of this. God Bless you guys and God bless country music.”
“We’re all thrilled to add an artist of Lauren’s caliber and a personality we all love to the Opry’s ranks,” said Dan Rogers, Opry executive producer. “Anyone in the audience or tuned in tonight could easily see it’s going to be a great marriage for decades to come.”
Photos credit: ©Grand Ole Opry, photos by Chris Hollo