Lauren Alaina was in the principal's office Sept. 6.
But she wasn't in trouble. She ducked an anatomy lab for a brief phone interview.
The rising country star will perform Saturday on the WGTY Great Country Radio Stage at the York Fair.
She's a senior this year and her Georgia high school curriculum includes a lab. Unlike other classes that Alaina can complete on the road, she's required to be in the building for the lab. She said it was the first time she's been back in school since her run on season 10 of "American Idol."
"It's definitely a challenge," she said of balancing her career and schoolwork. Sometimes she doesn't start her homework until 2 a.m. During the next few months, her schedule might stabilize more, since she'll be in the studio instead of on the road.
"I've been going though tons and tons of songs, looking at different styles and things that fit me as an artist," Alaina said.
It's been about two years since her debut album, "Wildflower," which she released when she was 16. At 18 now, Alaina said she has more music and life experience.
"It's going to be a different approach; I'm going to be an adult," she said. "I've just grown up so much. I had my heart broken."
When she needs guidance, Alaina said country star and fellow "American Idol" alum Carrie Underwood has been there with support. Her family and her fans also provide encouragement.
"I'm a new artist and I'm trying to work and grow every day," she said. "Your work pays off when (fans) know the songs already. It puts a smile on your face."