We have been sitting on the edge of our seats just waiting for ‘American Idol’ contestant Hollie Cavanagh to bust out of her shell. While she has one of the biggest voices in the competition, she also has spent the duration of it fading into the background on account of bad song choices and, of course, tough competition.

Tonight, for the first time since we met the young lass, she came on stage with a strong and confident attitude, which she may have found in Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band member/this week’s mentor, Steven Van Zandt. The musician and actor advised Cavanagh to “act like you don’t care what anyone thinks.”

Maybe this advice was the golden ticket, because the young singer chose to tackle ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ by Ike and Tina Turner. Tackling Tina is akin to the likes of taking on Adele, Madonna, or Whitney Houston — it’s a road that is often traveled but rarely ends with success. However, Cavanagh was able to pull off a victory by both belting the song and taking the stage by storm.

When they cut to the judges table the first thing we saw was Randy Jackson mouth the word “wow” to Jennifer Lopez. Steven Tyler was the first to speak and said, “You did it, and you just showed me you had it in you. Thank the Lord.” Lopez felt we saw a different Hollie and told the singer she felt her really “attack” the song. Jackson looked to his fellow judges and raised a question, “You both loved it right?” After a period of suspense he let his own opinion be known — “Well I loved it too.”

For her second performance, Cavanagh performed ‘Bleeding Love’ by Leona Lewis, who just happens to be ex ‘Idol’ judge Simon Cowell’s protégée . She delivered a passionate and solid performance looking and sounding like a completely different Hollie Cavanagh than we’re used to.

Steven Tyler told Cavanagh, “You nailed it, I didn’t even know that song but it was beautiful.” Jennifer Lopez also called the performance beautiful but elaborated by saying, “I feel like you even surprised yourself at the end. We may have put you through the ringer but you belong here.”

Randy Jackson added, “You’ve been the dark horse all season but you’re two for two tonight, and you’re peaking at the right time.”

Watch Hollie Cavanagh Perform ‘River Deep – Mountain High’

Watch Hollie Cavanagh Perform ‘Bleeding Love’

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