Lauren Alaina is all grown up.
She's no longer that precocious 15-year-old that auditioned for American Idol in front of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez and stole our hearts with her child-like charm and youthful glow.
No, that Lauren is gone. The 18-year-old performer that took the Idol stage on Thursday (May 9) is a grown woman with ambition, drive and passion for making music. As evidenced by her new-found performance skills, she's confidently poised with enough sass to set the local barn on fire.
With her new single "Barefoot and Buckwild," she's out to score her first radio hit, channeling her contemporaries Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Instead of clutching onto the past and trying to make her old image work (as found on her 2011 debut Wildflower), Lauren has evolved into a mature and worthy contender for the next generation of female vocalists.