Alaina Alexander spent many years struggling as an aspiring professional singer before she became a finalist at the age of 24 on the sixth season of American Idol in 2007. A native of West Hollywood, CA, Alexander had been pursuing a singing career for six years -- for a time she sang in a group boasting the absolutely wonderful name Foxi Nova -- and decided that her American Idol audition would be her last shot at the big time; if she didn't make it through the audition, she would go to college. She made it through the Los Angeles audition rounds on the strength of her performance of Michael Bublé's "Feeling Good," receiving high marks from all three judges, with Simon Cowell in particular praising her.
Alexander survived the Hollywood trials to make it into the final 12 females in the semifinals. The first week out she sang the Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket" in a slow-crawling arrangement. It was not well-received -- Simon threw back the song's chorus of "I'm special" to Alaina, claiming that she didn't seem special based on the performance -- but she garnered enough votes to stay on the show another week. In the second week, she sang the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice." Again, the performance was not judged well by Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, and this time Alexander was eliminated from the competition. Her final performance was quite emotional: she broke down crying and couldn't finish the song. In interviews following her elimination, Alexander claimed that she was going to continue with her music career.