American Idol’s Alaina Whitaker Staying Busy in Tulsa

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WHITAKER MALLOY: American Idol contestants Kady Malloy, left, and Alaina Whitaker, center, along with Brittney Whitaker, are working this summer to perfect their sound as “Whitaker Malloy.??? The trio recently filled in for Brooks and Dunn at a local casino.

Photos Courtesy of Norma Reneau

If there was ever any doubt that Tulsa is full of musical talent before this spring, that doubt has been safely laid to rest with the completion of American Idol’s seventh season. The top 24 contestants boasted two of Tulsa’s finest: Alaina Whitaker and season seven winner David Cook.

While Cook is spending his summer on tour hop-scotching across the country, Whitaker has returned to Tulsa to finish school (she is only 17) at Metro Christian Academy and to take her music career to a new level. Currently, she is working with her sister Brittney and American Idol contestant Kady Malloy to form Whitaker Malloy.

“We’ve been doing some performances and recording some things,” Alaina says. “We’re going to see how that goes.”

They’re already good enough to fill in for Brooks and Dunn. The trio recently had a gig to play an after party for the country stars at a casino in Miami, Okla. When Brooks and Dunn had to cancel, the casino knew exactly who would fill their time slot: Whitaker Malloy.

The journey to get to that point has been a life-long process for Alaina. She has been singing as long as she can remember and along with Brittney, the Whitaker sisters have competed together and individually in a number of local competitions: My Big Break, Gimmie the Mike and Darryl Starbird’s Cars and Stars Idol. Winning Cars and Stars was Alaina’s avenue to trying out for American Idol.

“As the prize, they offered to fly me to Dallas to try out for American Idol. It was a great thing to get me started.”

Once on the American Idol road, Alaina spent nearly two months going through the auditioning process. At each level, she was given the green light all the way up to round four with THE judges: Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.

“I was really, really nervous. I was shaking,” Alaina says. “It was so weird to see them in real life because I’ve watched them for so many years on TV. I was pretty nervous, but once I started singing, it got a lot better. It was the best feeling ever when I got through to Hollywood.”

A feeling that only grew with time.

“The only word to describe it is surreal. When I was out in L.A. for the top 24 and we’d be rehearsing our songs, sometimes I would go ‘Am I really here at American Idol?’”

Being on television wasn’t the hard part for Alaina, though. She was a natural performer in front of the camera. Deciding what to perform, however, was another story.

“The hardest part was definitely song choice. When I got the top 24 and you have to pick your song, it’s hard. It’s the first thing America’s going to vote on, and you don’t really know how to decide what America’s going to like, what’s going to suit your voice and what the judges are going to like.”

Throw in the theme of each week’s performances and it seems nearly impossible to please everyone. Alaina says overall, most of her criticism was positive feedback, which made her happy.
Her favorite part? Meeting new singers.

“I made a lot of friends during Hollywood week that didn’t make it into the top 24. I’m still in contact with a lot of them now. It was a lot of fun to be out there with people who do the same thing you do.”

Including David Cook.

“I knew David before American Idol. We were in a competition together called “My Big Break” last February. My sister and I entered into the competition as a duet. David was still with Midwest Kings. We actually won it, so it was kind of a joke that we had competed before and my sister and I had beaten him. I was excited to see him win.”

Though, she admits, there were others she was pulling for.

“It was different because I actually knew the people this year. I tended to lean towards the people I was closest to while I was out there. I was really close to Ramiele (Malubay), so I was rooting for her and Brooke (White).”

A year ago, Alaina was just an American Idol hopeful. This summer, she’s ready to take the next step with Whitaker Malloy.
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Updated 07-29-2008

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