With just a month to go in the competition, Lauren Alaina Suddeth tried to vault into the Top 5 on "American Idol" Wednesday with a breakthrough performance of the Carole King classic "Where You Lead."
Singing a selection from the songbook of the four-time Grammy winner, Suddeth drew praise from the judges for her spirited vocals.
For weeks, the judges have encouraged the Rossville, Ga., 16-year-old to leave her comfort zone and give more on stage.
"I'm so proud of you. I felt you push," 'Idol' judge Jennifer Lopez said of her performance. "...Those barriers are hard to break."
"She came out with a little extra swagger," echoed Randy Jackson.
Judge Steven Tyler said her soaring, if slightly flawed, vocal "shows the character in your voice."
In a taped segment of the show Suddeth was paid a visit by superstar Miley Cyrus, who quipped, "I love to hear another accent like mine." Cyrus urged Suddeth to "do it for yourself."
Suddeth also sang a show-stopping duet Wednesday with "Idol" contestant Scotty McCreery. The pair sang King's "Up on the Roof," a hit song recorded by The Drifters.
Thursday, the "Idol" Season 10 field will be reduced to five.