Lauren Alaina dramatically bit her lower lip and kissed her award when Trisha Yearwood inducted her into the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night.
“This is so awesome,” Alaina said, fighting back tears in the Grand Ole Opry’s sacred circle. “Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of this moment. Most little girls dreamed of their weddings. I dreamed of this. Hopefully, now I can have a wedding, too, and we’ll be set.”
Fifty of Alaina’s family and friends watched from the audience as Yearwood praised the 27-year-old for her dedication to country music and the Grand Ole Opry while welcoming her into the Opry family.
“A lot of people love you,” Yearwood told Alaina. “What I’ve gotten to observe is how genuine you are. I said this when you were invited. I really do feel like country music is in good hands. You’re exactly the kind of artist the Opry loves and wants and looks for. Every single person from the house band to the crew to the guy who is parking cars, everybody tonight has said, ’She’s so deserving.’”
Yearwood also surprised Alaina with a congratulatory video from Dolly Parton, another of Alaina’s heroes.
“You and I have a lot in common,” Parton told Alaina. “We both started young. We love country music, and we love the Grand Ole Opry. I would give $1 million 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. There’s nothing like it. I loved it, and I still love it. I want to wish you the best in your whole career. Good luck with the Grand Ole Opry. We love you!”
“She said my name!” Alaina exclaimed at the end of Parton’s video.
“She knows all about you!” Yearwood told her.
The surprises weren’t over. Earlier in the day, Alaina asked Yearwood to sing “Walk Away Joe” with her after her induction. Yearwood agreed but stunned Alaina again by bringing Garth Brooks out to play guitar during the song. Alaina stood open-mouthed as Brooks greeted his wife, the crowd and began to play.
Yearwood started singing and Alaina, her hand over her heart, joined in.
Before her induction, Alaina said backstage that she was determined to be more prepared this Saturday night than she was when Yearwood surprised her with an invitation to join the Opry in December. Alaina was so emotional in the moment that she dropped to her knees on stage and couldn’t talk.
“I’m trying to put myself in a better headspace,” Alaina said before the show. “I’m very hopeful that when I get on stage this time, instead of collapsing to the ground, that I’ll have my thoughts and words together so I can show everyone what it really means to me. I’m going to try and keep it together tonight.”
Alaina took the Opry stage multiple times throughout the show, which also included Lorrie Morgan and Wendy Moten. She wowed the audience with performances of her hits “Getting Over Him,” “One Beer” and “What Ifs” before she officially became a member. When Yearwood gave her the Opry award, Alaina became the institution’s youngest living member and the sixth consecutive new Opry to be a solo female or a group that contains a female artist.
Vice president and executive producer of The Grand Ole Opry Dan Rogers called Alaina “one of the greatest voices of women in country music.”
Alaina said the night was “magical.”
“God bless you all, and God bless country music,” she said.