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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (June 10, 2011) – The Grand Ole Opry welcomed two new performers to its stage tonight, American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and runner-upLauren Alaina.  Their performances before a sold-out crowd came three days after they made a surprise visit to see Carrie Underwood perform on the Opry this past Tuesday and less than two weeks after this season’s Idol finale.
Opry member John Conlee first introduced Alaina, who opened with the LeAnn Rimes hit “Blue.” “I could cry right now. I cannot believe I am here in front of all of you,” Alaina said. Pointing to her knees, she continued, “I’ve dreamed of this day since I was about this tall. … as tall as my heels! … I never get nervous singing, and my knees are shaking!”
Before closing with her first single, “Like My Mother Does,” the Georgia native saluted her family standing in the wings. “I can’t see you, mamma, ‘cause it’s black back there,” she said, looking backstage. “But I love you! This one’s for you.”
Asked by Conlee how she felt after her debut as she exited the stage, the 16 year old said, “I’m scared to death! It’s going to take me an hour to calm down from this one!”
McCreery was up next with his first single, “I Love You This Big.” “Wow! This is such an honor to be here tonight,” he said. “I was bagging groceries just a couple of months ago.” Addressing the Opry House crowd, the North Carolinian cheered, “I owe all my success to you. Thank you. It’s a day I’ll never forget.”  The 17 year old closed with George Strait’s “Check Yes Or No.”
The two returned to the stage together to accept show prints commemorating their Opry debuts and the jerseys they’ll sport in tomorrow’s City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game.


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