With her small-town, country girl charm and powerful voice, Alaina became an early favorite to win the coveted title. Week after week, she wowed both judges and audiences alike, whether she was belting out country hits like "I Hope You Dance" (2000), the Motown classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1966) or Martina McBride's inspirational "Anyway" (2006). Alaina made it all the way to the finals, but she almost had to bow out of the competition after blowing out her vocal chords during rehearsals. After receiving treatment, she was able to perform during the finale, but Alaina eventually lost out to fellow country crooner, Scotty McCreery. The pair had enjoyed a tight bond throughout the competition, sparking rumors that they were an item, but neither singer would confirm or deny. After the show wrapped, Alaina performed with the season's other contestants on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2011, and was a presenter at the televised special "2011 CMT Music Awards" (CMT, 2011). In October 2011, Alaina released her debut album Wildflower, which landed at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The album showcased the young chanteuse presenting herself as a flirty yet churchgoing good girl on the track "Georgia Peaches," accompanied by guitar and fiddle riffs and a distinct banjo groove, and belting out her appreciation for her mother in the ballad "Like My Mother Does."By Candy Cuenco
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