Matt Sayles, AP
The Boot spent time with Lauren at CMA Music Fest, where we chatted with the bright-eyed beauty about everything from her 'Idol' song choices to her debut album goals. We also get the scoop on the televised kiss that sparked a million rumors.
What was your favorite part of CMA Music Fest?
Meeting my fans and being able to talk to them one on one. They voted on me and made my dreams come true, so it's good to give back to them, sign a piece of paper or give them a hug.
Kevin Mazur, WireImage
[laughs] I got a picture with him, wanna see? [Lauren takes out her cell phone and shows us a photo of herself with Justin at the CMT Music Awards.] I was a little bit nervous to meet him; I think everyone's nervous to meet Justin Bieber! I was like, "He's going to think I'm crazy!" I walked up to him, and I realized my dress had ripped. So I turned to my manager and said, "Michelle, my dress is ripped!" And right then, he walked up to us and introduced himself, while I was looking at my dress. So it was good, because it wasn't like I was looking at him and drooling! [laughs] It worked out!
Just two days later, you made your debut on the Grand Ole Opry. What was running through your mind right before your performance?
You can ask anybody back there, I was having a stroke! I was so nervous. It's very rare that I get nervous before a performance, especially to the point where I don't even want to talk. I was so scared, I thought I was going to be sick. I have dreamed about that place since I was a little girl. I finally got to sing there, and it shocked me because it happened so fast.
Taylor Swift writes about girls who were mean to her in school. Have you run into any jealousy or animosity back home, given your success?
I'm not surrounded by anything negative ... ever. I expected to be, but I'm not. I keep the people who I know love me really close. I don't let people say mean things to me! I don't surround myself with people who'd want to do that.
Did you find your fellow 'Idol' contestants were accepting of you and Scotty, given they were all so pop and you two were so country?
It was really cool because we're used to singing our own type of music, and then we got to hear people who were so good at singing different [genres]. We'd make each other sing, constantly. We were each other's biggest fans.
Michael Becker, AP
It's not annoying. I asked for it! [laughs] I kissed him on live TV! So I can't get annoyed when I did that. It's my fault. I was just excited and happy for him. We're friends, like brother and sister. It wasn't like [fakes a deep, sultry voice], "Come here and let me lay a smooch on you!" [laughs]
You sang a Shania Twain song on "Personal Idol" week. Why is she your personal idol?
I grew up listening to her and love her music. All of her music is really fun, and that's the kind of music I like -- music that people can dance to. I got to meet her at the CMT Awards. I thanked her for letting me sing her song, and she thanked me for singing it!
You really showed a great sense of humor on the show. But who cracked you up the most?
Steven Tyler! He doesn't even make sense half the time, but he's so funny!
Of all the feedback Steven gave you, what stood out the most?
When he said I was "the one." Then after the finale, after we found out Scotty won, he came up to me and said, "You're still my 'American Idol.'" That made me feel so good. I love him. He's a completely different person than I am [laughs], but I look up to anyone with that much success. It's just cool to know him and to know he's a fan of mine.
Your cousin Holly also became somewhat of a celebrity through 'Idol.' She encouraged you to try out, and her battle with cancer was a huge inspiration for you. How's she doing?
She's cancer-free! She's here today. She's getting better everyday.
America also fell in love with your parents on the show. What's the best advice they gave you through all of this?
They keep me in check. They make sure that I keep a level head, and they make sure I'm praying. They also don't let anything negative around me. They're great parents, you can ask anyone who knows them!
Watching you perform on 'Idol' was so much fun, because you are very theatrical. Is that something that comes naturally to you?
People tell me that all the time! I don't know what I do with my eyes, but I'm a pretty good actress, I guess! I've always dreamed of doing a music video.
Have you thought about a video for 'Like My Mother Does'? Would you cast your mom in the video?
That would be so cool. I don't know! She's a natural, so maybe so!
Tell me about the very first time you heard 'Like My Mother Does,' before you performed it on the show?
I had quite a few songs to choose between, but when they played me that song I just started crying. Then my mama came in, and she started to cry, too. So I was like, "Alright, I guess I've got to do it!" It's a beautiful song. My mom went through the whole process with me, and I got all the attention. And Miss Judy [Scotty's mom], too! I give credit to our moms because they went through everything we went through. They didn't get sleep like we didn't get sleep, they were just as stressed as we were. So it's good that I could sing that for them.
How in the world did you keep from crying when you sang it live?
It was hard! Especially when my mom cried ... It was the finale, so I tried to hold it in as much as possible!
When was the first time you heard 'Like My Mother Does' on the radio?
It was on my way to Nashville on Monday! We were riding in the car and I heard [imitating a radio deejay], "Coming up next is Lauren Alaina, our hometown sweetheart!" They played my song, and I was crying!
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Yes, my uncle's wife had a car wreck and was in the hospital, so I wrote a song and sang it to her. My mom keeps them all, and my handwriting was horrible! You can tell I was a little kid.
How often do you write?
I write as much as I can, but I've been really busy lately, so I've got to get back into it. I want to write with Taylor Swift! But I think that's kind of impossible. [laughs] And Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood -- I like that they're singers and writers, too ... I just want to meet those people! [laughs]
Now that you're putting together an album, will you insist that some of your self-penned songs make the track list?
We're still in the process of figuring things out. If I could do some of my songs, that would be cool. But I have to do whatever is best for my album.
Have you started listening to demos?
Yes, I've got quite a few songs to listen to, and a few of them I'm really excited about. Country music's really good about telling a story, so I want songs that tell good stories where people can say, "That happened to me!"