The “American Idol” competition is heating up, as contestants who received golden tickets nationwide have officially arrived in Los Angeles, California. In honor of the 20th Season, the franchise called in “Idol” alums to serve as mentors during Hollywood Week.
On last night’s episode (March 28) familiar faces such as, Ruben Studdard (Season 2), Jordan Sparks (Season 6), David Cook (Season 7), Lee DeWyze (Season 9), Haley Reinhart (Season 10), Lauren Alaina (Season 10) and current champ Chayce Beckham (Season 19) returned to the legendary stage to provide guidance and support.
Before the episode aired, the country music hitmaker took to Instagram to share the exciting news.
“I am FLIPPING OUT to return to @americanidol as a guest mentor for #HollywoodWeek! I’ll be mentoring the country genre!” she said, full of enthusiasm.
Ahead of her grand appearance, fans and country musicians ran to the comment section to celebrate the full-circle moment.
“So crazy to think that years ago, little Lauren was the one being mentored on Idol, and now YOU get to be the mentor to give advice! Love this journey you’re on – can’t wait to watch this!” said a devoted fan. “❤❤❤,” shared country legend Tanya Tucker.
The “Getting Good” singer did not waste any time on the show and immediately sat down with young songstress Ryleigh Madison to remind her to have confidence under the spotlight.
“Some of my biggest inspirations in the country scene today have walked these footsteps that I’m walking in,” shared the North Carolina native to the cameras. “Oh, I’m going to cry already,” she added through tears once Alaina sat down to chat.
The singer-songwriter was stunned by the contestant’s emotional reaction. However, Alaina consoled her by sharing that she broke into tears when Carrie Underwood became her mentor during Hollywood Week.
“Oh, don’t you do that!” she said while laughing. “That’s what I did when I met Carrie Underwood, I’m not going to lie. I met Carrie when I was on the show, and I cried like a baby. I never thought I’d feel like Carrie Underwood, so thank you,” she smiled.
The budding singer couldn’t believe her eyes, and told Alaina through tears that the entire experience thus far “feels like a dream.”
“I feel like you’re me… 10 years ago, what happened?” the award-winning singer replied while looking at the blonde music hopeful.
The contestant continued to open up about her primary goal and passion for country music.
“I feel like this could change my life, like it did yours. So, I really hope I can do my best,” she said. “I’m a singer and that’s very rare back home to have such ambitious dreams. But, you come here and there is so many talented people.You’re like, ’WHAT… it’s not home anymore.'”
The beloved musician told her mini-me to place her doubts on the back burner and realize that her gift got her into the competition.
“You deserve to be here,” stressed Alaina. “I want you to do me a favor and take every bit of that emotion and put it into your performance, because that is really special. You’re special. Very special.”
Madison received her golden ticket into the show with a chill-provoking rendition of “The Good Ones” by her musical inspiration and “American Idol” alum Gabby Barrett. Alaina also pointed contestant Noah Thompson in the right direction as well.
“When you go out there, think about what you are doing for him and for y’all’s future,” said the superstar about Thompson’s baby boy at home. “You already made it this far, it’s remarkable. I think you are going to make him pretty proud,” she concluded.
The Georgia native broke into the entertainment industry after becoming the runner-up to Scotty McCreery on the tenth season of “American Idol.” Alaina is now an award-winning singer-songwriter within the country music scene. The vocalist is currently starring in CBS’ hit reality show, “Beyond the Edge.” The Grand Ole Opry member is also on her Top of The World Tour.