American Idol 2012's "Now and Then" week, which aired April 18 on FOX, was a good one for hopeful Skylar Laine, who delivered two strong performances and earned a healthy dose of praise from the trio of judges.
During the pre-performance segment, mentor Jimmy Iovine told Skylar that the strength of her recent performances had transformed her into a frontrunner. When he learned that she intended to sing the country version of Lady Gaga's "Born this Way," Jimmy suggested she start with the bridge to start strong from the get-go. He also predicted that "the country folk" would come out of the woodwork to support her.
Skylar took Jimmy's suggestion and began her performance with the popular bridge. The number was a strong one; she re-claimed her status as the rockin' country girl. But her wardrobe selection—a bizarre mix of black leggings, big belt, white top, long, gauzy overtop and silver glittering vest—was questionable.
Jennifer Lopez said she'd never heard the version of the song and loved it. She called Skylar "such a fighter" and deemed the song a perfect pick for her. Steven Tyler said he was "so glad you were born that way" and "there are a lot of people with a drawl out there who will vote for you." Randy Jackson praised her "crossover appeal" and called her "so beyond ready."
But the good news didn't end there: Skylar's selection for the second round, the iconic "Heard it Through the Grapevine," was just as well-received. She switched up her wardrobe, pairing her cowboy boots with a short, sassy dress that featured a bright pink skirt and a daring, plunging neckline. She rocked it country style.
Randy called it "brilliant" and said that every time she's on stage, there's a party. He loved her ability to show and transfer emotion. Jennifer said she loved her "spunkiness" and told her to be proud of herself. Steven called her "a wild horse that refuses to be tamed" and "something else."
To see if Skylar Laine advances further into the American Idol 2012 competition, watch Thursday's elimination show on FOX.