American Idol alums Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina reunited on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry on Thursday (Sept. 28) to present the award for The Social Country Star of 2023 at the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards.
“Scotty and I know how important it is to forge that direct bond with every fan your likes reposts, shares, and especially tonight, your votes matter,” Alaina began during the presentation.
Presented An Award To Blake Shelton
“Tonight we bring a first to country music, an award to recognize the artist who dominates social media,” McCreery added.
After the nominees were showcased on the screen, the pair revealed, “And the People’s Choice Country Award Goes To Blake Shelton!”
Red Carpet Looks
Prior to the show, Scotty McCreery walked the red carpet alongside his wife, Gabi, while Lauren Alaina and her fiancé, Cam Arnold, made their red carpet debut.
Appeared On The Great Idol Reunion
The pair previously joined forces during the Great Idol Reunion in May of 2022, where McCreery and Alaina made their long-awaited and much-anticipated return to the Idol stage.
McCreery and Alaina teamed up to perform the beloved classic country hit, “When You Say Nothing At All,” a tune made famous by Keith Whitley in 1988 and Alison Krauss in 1995.
Prior to stepping on stage together, the longtime friends reminisced upon their time on the show.
“I was a fan of this show before I was even on this show,” McCreery recalled. “Life was pretty normal for both of us going to high school up until the show.”
“I loved American Idol so much that it was a punishment for me to not be able to watch it,” Alaina added. “So, I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to represent our season.”
McCreery, who won season 10 of Idol in 2011, and Alaina, the season 10 runner-up, were just teenagers when they appeared on the hit singing competition show. Fast-forward 11 years, both artists have both become chart-topping country hitmakers with radio success and award wins.
Previously Teamed Up To Perform Duets
While competing on Idol, McCreery and Alaina performed multiple duets together, including a cover of the popular Randy Travis song, “I Told You So.”
Their performance on the Idol reunion show marked the first time in 11 years that McCreery and Alaina have performed together on television and will certainly go down as one of their best performances together.
Prior to The Great Idol Reunion, McCreery recalled hearing Alaina sing for the first time ever during an interview with Audacy’s Rob + Holly at the Tortuga Music Festival. “I’ll never forget the first time I met Lauren Alaina, it was Hollywood Week, and I’m listening to her sing thinking, ‘Oh my God, she is incredible.’ Thinking she’s going all the way, and obviously she did.”
After winning Idol in 2011, McCreery went on to release five studio albums, including his latest project, Same Truck. He earned five consecutive No.1 singles and is currently climbing the charts at country radio with his latest single, “Cab In A Solo,” which will appear on his forthcoming yet-to-be-announced new album.
Lauren Alaina finished as the runner-up on Season 10 of Idol. Following the show, the Georgia native released several EPs, as well as three full-length albums. She also became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in early 2022 and recently signed with Big Loud Records. Her latest project, the Unlocked EP includes her current single, “Thicc As Thieves.”
People’s Choice Country Awards
The first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards took place at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday (Sept. 28).
Throughout the show, awards for 12 categories were given out, including People’s Artist of 2023, Male Artist of 2023, Female Artist of 2023, Group/Duo of 2023, New Artist of 2023, Social Country Star of 2023, Song of 2023, Collaboration Song of 2023, Crossover Song of 2023, Album of 2023, Music Video of 2023 and Concert Tour of 2023.
Toby Keith was honored with the Country Icon Award, which was presented to him by Blake Shelton. Wynonna Judd was also celebrated with the Country Champion Award, given to her by Brothers Osborne.
The coveted awards show also featured performances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Toby Keith, Wynonna Judd and more.
Adam Doleac, Blake Shelton, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce, Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, Hunter Hayes, Jessie James Decker, Josh Ross, Kameron Marlowe, Kristin Cavallari, Lady A, Lauren Alaina, Leanne Morgan, Mickey Guyton, Nikki Garcia, Scotty McCreery and The War And Treaty were also on hand to present.
Little Big Town was the host of the show. “We are honored to host the inaugural ‘People’s Choice Country Awards,’ especially on one of our most beloved stages in the entire world,” the group previously shared in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming so many of our talented peers to take the Opry stage for this magical night of music.”
The 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards’ aired live on NBC and Peacock on September 28 at 8/7c simultaneously on NBC and Peacock.
The livestream also aired on Peacock, PCA Twitter, NBC Twitter/Facebook/YouTube, TODAY All Day/Twitter, E! News Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/E!Online, Access Twitter/YouTube, and Circle TV Network and Circle social platforms, featuring red carpet arrivals, backstage chats and more.