Giving back to her fans: Lauren Alaina returns to ‘CMA Fest’

ABC airs annual three-hour digest of Nashville event

Lauren Alaina is among the featured performers in “CMA Fest,” airing Wednesday on ABC.

With each appearance she’s made at the annual “CMA Fest,” Lauren Alaina has marked another career milestone.

This past June, when the Country Music Association staged the Nashville event at which fans can get up-close to stars, the “American Idol” alum had a whopper of an accolade to celebrate: It was Alaina’s first time at the festival as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, to which she was inducted in February. ABC broadcasts its traditional three-hour digest of the four-day gathering Wednesday, Aug. 3, with Dierks Bentley and Elle King as hosts.

At several different venues during that weekend, Alaina — who is doing much concert touring this summer — performed tunes from her latest album, the top-selling “Sitting Pretty on Top of the World” (which she also co-wrote most of). She says with her customary laugh, “I was all over the place! I always love ‘CMA Fest.’ All artists owe their careers to the fans, because we create art and they listen to it, which enables us to write and release more music. It all comes back to them.

Lauren Alaina is among the featured performers in “CMA Fest,” airing Wednesday on CTV 2 and ABC.

“Specifically for me, I came into this career because the fans voted me into it (on ‘American Idol’),” adds Alaina, “so I have always had this deep level of appreciation and gratitude for my fans, and I feel like ‘CMA Fest’ is the perfect way to celebrate that. It’s very hot there, but very fun.” Alaina also enjoyed debuting her duet (with Chris Lane) that updates King Harvest’s early-1970s hit “Dancin’ in the Moonlight” live at the festival.

The typically star-packed “CMA Fest” also included these artists in its 2022 lineup: Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Lady A, Alan Jackson, Wynonna Judd (in one of her first performances after the passing of her mother and frequent singing partner, Naomi Judd), Jason Aldean, Jimmie Allen, Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band, Cole Swindell, Gabby Barrett, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde and King Calaway … among many others.

Alaina is still basking in the glow of her recent Grand Ole Opry induction, which has made her the youngest living member of that institution.

“That is the biggest and most amazing thing that’s ever happened in my career,” she confirms. “I don’t think I will ever be able to top it, honestly. There are no words to describe what that means to me, as both a country music artist and a lover of country music when I was growing up. I remember the first time I ever got to play there, my dad was there, and he was crying like a baby on the side of the stage. It’s always been a really important place for me.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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