Lauren Alaina poses for a photo at the Cameo Tailgate.
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Lauren Alaina Officially Joins the Grand Ole Opry Cast

A childhood dream came true for Lauren Alaina on Saturday night (Feb. 12) when she became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

"Ever since my daddy was a child, it was his dream to play the banjo at the Grand Ole Opry," Alaina told the Tennessean. "So, when I was a girl, of course, I learned about this Disneyworld of country music, a magical place called the Grand Ole Opry, where all of country music's most successful artists played.

"Though I listened to it on the radio as a child, I never attended the Opry in person until the day I made my debut," she continued. "And, my dad's gotten to play with me a couple of times since I started playing there. My family's made so many of their dreams come true at the Opry."

Fellow Georgia native Trisha Yearwood made Alaina's membership official during Saturday's broadcast.

"Before you get back to performing, I have to do some talking and you have to do some crying," Yearwood, an Opry member since 1999, said. "You are exactly the kind of artist the Opry wants, loves and looks for."

Alaina promised to do her part to uphold country music tradition as the current youngest member of one of the genre's most exclusive clubs.

"In my heart, I'm still that little girl from Rossville, Ga., who has these huge dreams that she wants to realize," Alaina told the Tennessean. "It's amazing. It really is. If all of my books, the TV shows, the touring and everything goes away tomorrow, I can still have a job — singing at the Grand Ole Opry for the rest of my life. Being a part of that family, that's pretty crazy."

Trisha Yearwood's Big Surprise

Yearwood shocked Alaina on Dec. 18 by inviting the "It Was Me" singer to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

"I have the honor — you're gonna make me cry — I have the honor of asking you on behalf of the Grand Ole Opry if you would please accept our invitation to become the newest member?," Yearwood said on the Opry stage.

Alaina literally got knocked off her feet by the Christmas surprise.

"I felt like Bambi," Alaina told People following the invitation. "My knees ... all of a sudden, I [had] to get closer to the floor. Then it was, 'There's a slit in my dress, stand back up.' That's all I could think."

As if the moment wasn't emotional enough, Alaina was informed that mother Kristy White and father J.J. Suddeth were in attendance.

"I have not cried like this in a really long time, I guess I needed it," Alaina said. "I'm not kidding, I was backstage and I was like, 'Can you please tell the Opry the only thing I want is to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.' Then I snott-ed on stage over it."

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Yearwood has grown close over time with Alaina, a fellow Georgia native who's seen through her singer-songwriter dreams in Nashville. Yearwood lovingly calls Alaina Junior because of their similarities. Alaina's hero turned peer appears on Alaina's 2021 album Sitting Pretty on Top of the World via the duet "Getting Good."

"They could not have picked a better person to ask me," Alaina told People. "She's been the best person to have in my corner. She was like, 'You have to sing a couple of more songs.' I was like, 'I can not. I don't even know what songs they are.'"

The big news capped off an eventful 2021 for Alaina, highlighted by the Hallmark film Roadhouse Romance and the release of her book Getting Good at Being You: Learning to Love Who God Made You to Be. Her 2022 begins with a headlining tour and her official induction into one of country music's most exclusive clubs.

Alaina's first Opry appearance came on June 10, 2011, a week after being named runner-up to American Idol season 10 champion Scotty McCreery. She made her 50th appearance on the Opry House stage earlier this year.

"I wish I could tell this sweet, young girl that stepped in that circle for the first time on June 10, 2011, one DEBUT will become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry," Alaina wrote on social media.