Lauren Alaina Talks Brenda Lee, Christmas And the Grand Ole Opry [EXCLUSIVE]

Lauren Alaina got up close and personal to one of her musical heroes, namely Brenda Lee, when filming the NBC special, Christmas at the Opry. For Alaina, the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” singer was an icon, and someone the American Idol alum has looked up to for most of her life.

“I grew up in Rossville, Georgia, and I was only like a two-hour drive from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a town that Dolly Parton basically owns,” Alaina tells Everything Nash with a laugh. “I opened up for an Elvis impersonator, and I wore a poodle skirt, and I sang Brenda Lee’s songs. So I’m pretty pumped. I told her that.

“She was so sweet,” she continues. “She’s so great. I love her. And she was so young when she started her career, and I was really young when I started my career, so I just really look up to her. And I love Christmas, so any time I can celebrate where I came from and Christmas, all of the things wrapped into one, it’s pretty awesome.”

Alaina became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2022, fulfilling a dream she had held since she was a little girl.

“It was my number one goal in my career for the longest time, to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry,” Alaina says.. “So when that happened, I still can’t believe it to even say it. It is truly the highest honor that I believe you can get as a country music artist. Every time I step on that stage, I’m the luckiest person in the room, and I just want to make country music proud. I’m proud to be of the younger generation that can honor the Opry and be an example for the Opry. I love everything about it.”

Alaina, who also performed last month as part of Opry Country Christmas, loves everything about the holidays. especially getting to spend time with her family and loved ones.

“The biggest thing for me is that I always know I get to be home for Christmas,” Alaina says. “I miss a lot of holidays. I perform at the parades for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is the one I know for sure. I get to see my mom, I get to see my dad, and I get to see my brother and my nieces and nephews.”

Alaina just released her Unlocked EP, a collection of songs that celebrate her deep love of country music.

“It’s country through and through,” the engaged singer shared Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen when the project was released. “There’s nothing pop about it, which I was very intentional about. I spent a ton of time with my family over the last few years and back home in Rossville, Georgia where I came from.”

Wynonna Judd is hosting Christmas at the Opry. In addition to Alaina and Lee, the holiday special will also include performances by Kelly Clarkson, Trace Adkins, Chris JansonLauren Alaina,  Mickey Guyton, Mitchell Tenpenny and more.

Christmas at the Opry will air on NBC on Thursday night, December 7, at 8:00 PM ET.

Find all of Alaina’s music and upcoming shows at

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC/Allen Clark