Skylar Laine (pictured, far left) misses her deer-killin’ gun so much, but you know what she can’t shoot? The giant animated eagle behind her in the gaudy Idol Oval during Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”! Because she’s flying so high above it, and because it’s not real! The country rocker surprised everyone by taking on the inspirational Beaches ballad. It was the showcase for Skylar’s big voice the judges had been waiting for after she landed in the bottom three last week.

“It’s the beginning of a great career, girl,” said Steven Tyler, who might not remember Beaches because he “wasn’t all there” for the 1980s.

“I THINK THIS GIRL WANTS IT TOO!” cried Randy Jackson, who tonight elevated his framing of a contestant’s potential and desire to remain in the competition from “in it to win it” to “gotta have it.” According to Randy, the singers who had to have it tonight were Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez, and Skylar. After the jump, check out my ranking of tonight’s ’80s performances. Leave yours in the comments!


Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet, “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael

Skylar Laine, “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty

Joshua Ledet, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red

Jessica Sanchez, “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston

Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine, “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Phillip Phillips, “That’s All” by Genesis

Elise Testone, “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

Colton Dixon, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper (I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was trying to sound like Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong)

DeAndre Brackensick and Hollie Cavanagh, “I’m So Excited”

DeAndre Brackensick, “I Like It” by Debarge

Hollie Cavanagh, “Flashdance” by Irene Cara

Let me know your own ranking of the night’s performances, and stay tuned for my full recap later on.

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