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TMCNet:  'American Idol' finalist adds country flair to live tour

[August 30, 2012]

'American Idol' finalist adds country flair to live tour

Aug 30, 2012 (The Citizens' Voice - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Singers don't have to win "American Idol" to come out on top.

Former contestant Skylar Laine, who made it into the show's top five during Season 11, is still reaping benefits from her time on television. The 18-year-old from Brandon, Miss., is currently touring the country as a member of the "American Idol Live Tour," which stops at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township on Sept. 6. Laine performs several songs during the show, including her powerhouse rendition of "Stay With Me" by Faces and a duet with pal and fourth-place finisher Hollie Cavanagh.

The tour atmosphere is totally different from the television show environment, Laine said during a recent phone interview from the road. The pressure is off now that she's not being judged and voted on weekly. She also gets more face time with fans.

"I can be a lot more open with my performance and just get into it a lot more," she said.

Also performing on the tour are Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips and runner-up Jessica Sanchez, and top 10 finishers Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Heejun Han and Erika Van Pelt.

Her interactions with other contestants are easier without the tension of competition. Laine said she's close with Cavanagh, who was eliminated a week after her, and Ledet, who finished third. The trio hangs out together on the bus and watches movies like "The Notebook" and "The Sitter." "It's a lot more laid back," Laine said.

When she's not performing or palling around with fellow cast members, she's working on songs for an upcoming album. She said she is writing a lot and recording some demos whenever she is close enough to Nashville to do a session. She is also looking for a record label to call home.

The songstress describes her style as country rock in the spirit of musicians like Waylon Jennings, who bucked country's mainstream genre in favor of an edgier sound. She calls her fans "Skoutlaws," a play on the "outlaws" monicker adopted by Jennings and similar artists.

She also idolizes Miranda Lambert -- her "American Idol" audition song was "Hell on Heels" by Pistol Annies, a country girl group comprised of Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. She is also a big fan of country artist Justin Moore.

"I want to be the girl version of him," she said. "He's awesome." Quick info What: American Idol Live Tour 2012 When: Sept. 6, 7 p.m.

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre Township.

Details: Tickets cost $30.50, $46 and $66, available online at ticketmaster.com, at the arena box office and Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

___ (c)2012 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Visit The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at citizensvoice.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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