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Lauren Alaina with Blake Shelton for throwback thursday picture Instagram/@laurenalaina

Lauren Alaina has come a long way from the days of standing in line to meet her favorite country stars. Now, she is one herself!

But long before she rose to fame on “American Idol,” Lauren was waiting in meet-and-greet lines like the rest of us to have her picture taken with her favorite artists. For her most recent “Throwback Thursday” photo, she unearthed a classic — a shot of her very first meeting with a then rising young country star named Blake Shelton!

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In it, Lauren looks tickled pink to be getting a hug from the handsome singer.

“Hey, Blake Shelton! How about this for a #throwbackthursday?” Lauren captioned the post.

Just look at those baby faces! We don’t know when this photo was taken, but sweet Lauren looks like she could be in elementary or middle school. And Blake—well, he definitely doesn’t have any of those distinguished grays we’ve come to love as of late. Just saying, Blake, you know we love you, you handsome devil.

The picture was snapped at an event in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We can gather that much because of the radio station logo in the background. That’s WUSY in Chattanooga, one of the most popular and successful small-market radio stations in country music. And it would technically be Lauren’s hometown station, since the country beauty grew up just down the road in Rossville, Georgia, a quick hop over the state line.

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It wouldn’t be too terribly long after this photo was likely taken that Lauren would be singing all over Chattanooga and even in Nashville at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, as well as in choir at school. That was all before taking the leap to audition for “American Idol,” where she ultimately took second place to Scotty McCreery in 2011.

We know how that story continued—with a record deal at Universal Music Group and a long journey down the “road less traveled” to getting her first No. 1 on the country charts in 2017. She’s released two albums and toured the country with the likes of Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride and so many more and scored a smash duet with her childhood friend, Kane Brown.

Now, Lauren has her own meet-and-greet lines where she gets to hug fans and take pictures for posterity. It’s full-circle moments like this that make us tear up!

What we would love to see—in a perfect country music world—is Blake stand in line, present-day, to see Lauren in a meet-and-greet and recreate this sweet moment in reverse. Call us if you two need someone to coordinate that.

Samantha Stephens absolutely lives for music. When she's not making it, she's talking or writing about it. She's worked in all arenas of the country music world for nearly a decade, from syndicated radio and television to print journalism. She's even been known to crash a red carpet or two, true story.
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