Lauren Alaina appeared on American Idol two years ago, but fans certainly haven’t forgotten.
And many still insist she should have won Season 10, back when Scotty McCreery took the Idol crown and Lauren finished second.
“I think she was better than Scotty. She has a better voice,” said Courtney Krepps, 16, of Hanover.
Joined by mother Missy and grandmother Kathy Wolfe, she was one of three generations of Lauren fans in her family to turn out for the 18-year-old’s Thursday night show on the York Fair’s WGTY Great Country Radio Stage.
Heck, those who agree even include Abby Weaver, 24, of Littlestown, who followed Season 10 of Idol because she lived in Garner, N.C., at the time. That’s Scotty’s hometown.
Still, she confesses to voting for Lauren that year, saying “she’s more relatable.”
“And she has more stage presence,” added Natalia Montero, 18, of Dover.Lauren treated fans to a lively 10-song set, filled with upbeat tunes from the “Wildflower” album she released post Idol.
In fact, she strayed from that album just twice, jokingly dedicating a cover of Reba McEntire’s “Turn on the Radio” to a “terrible” ex-boyfriend, then performing her latest single, “Barefoot and Buckwild,” near the end of the show.
Many in the crowd — like Danielle Gray, 16, of Dallastown and Amanda Heilman, 22, of York — had seen Lauren perform on the same stage a year ago and returned because they enjoyed that show so much.
Brother and sister Collin and Carissa Gurgul of East Berlin said they’d watched Lauren perform multiple times on trips to Nashville and were thrilled not to have to travel quite so far to see one of their favorites this time around.
And Thursday’s show offered a special moment for young sisters Isabella, Katelyn and Alayna Schopf, who showed up at Thursday’s concert with a sign reading “Stuck in Red Lion growing her wings.”
When Lauren sang “Growing Her Wings,” she inserted Red Lion on their behalf. But not before first checking with some fans in the front row for a quick geography lesson and to find out whether Red Lion was a town or not.
Turns out the Schopf sisters are such big Lauren fans, they sang her song “Like My Mother Does” in their church on Mother’s Day.
Part of Lauren’s appeal on Idol was her fun-loving personality.And she had fun with the crowd Thursday night, telling how she arrived in York, but her shoes didn’t, forcing her to go on an unexpected shopping trip. She kicked off the red high heels she had purchased midway through the performance.
And she had nearly everyone in the crowd singing along to her show-closing number, “Georgia Peaches,” one of the singles from “Wildflower.”
“I love her attitude when she sings,” said Deb Baugher of York. “She’s a little firecracker.”
Sandy Reinhard traveled two hours from New Tripoli, Pa., with her daughter Ashley to see Thursday’s show, mainly because Canaan Smith was the opening act.
“Lauren’s wonderful,” Sandy said. “And she’s a really good role model for girls.”
Editor’s Note: For a pre-show interview with Lauren, head here.
Coming soon: Fair fans talk about the judging changes for American Idol Season 13. And coverage of Saturday night’s York Fair show featuring Danielle Bradbery.