UPDATE: Unfortunately, country cutie Skylar Laine was eliminated from American Idol during the Top 5 results. Watch all of Skylar's performances here.

As we inch closer to this year’s American Idol finale, it’s dawned on us that country cutie Skylar Laine has a real shot at winning the whole shebang. Although not a front-runner from the beginning like fellow contestants Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez, the 18-year-old Brandon, Mississippi native has morphed from a deer-hunting, mud-riding tomboy into a confident, no-holds-barred performer. With her string of strong performances lately, we’re convinced she’s got a shot at winning the whole thing. Here are five reasons we think Skylar could take home the Idol crown:

When she performs, she performs
When Skylar takes the stage, it’s unequivocally what judge Steven Tyler has called “The Skylar Laine show.” Her passion and emotion for each song bursts out of every performance. Despite her young age, her voice has filled out some mature tracks like The Band Perry’s “You Lie” and Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” And let’s not forget the judges’ constant comparison of her to country legend Reba McEntire. Perhaps Skylar is just an old soul?

Country singers do well on the show
As evidenced by last year’s Top 2 finalists, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, country singers are hot stuff on Idol. And as the only twang-tastic singer in the current group of finalists, Skylar’s M.O. is bold and different. If things go well for her, she could have the career trajectory of successful country-singing Idol alums like Carrie Underwood and the Season 10 duo of Scotty and Lauren.

Her song choices are great
Yes, she usually molds whatever song she chooses to fit her country stylings. But she always finds a way to choose songs that she connects with and that appeal to the voters too. Song choice is key in this competition.

We’re ready for another female Idol champ
We made the same argument for Jessica Sanchez as well, but come on! The last woman to win Idol was Season 6 champ Jordin Sparks, and that was back in 2007. With the current competition stacked more female than male, we think Skylar can make ladies everywhere proud and bring this thing home.

Her humble background makes for a great success story
Back home in Brandon, Skylar works for her family’s grocery store called Beatty Street Grocery. With the recent economic downturn, the shop has been struggling to get by. On top of that, Skylar is reportedly going through school to earn a nursing degree. Make no mistake, Idol isn’t just a singing competition. It’s as much a contest about likeability, and overcoming hardships like those that Skylar is facing makes you exponentially more likable to voters.

 

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