American Idol's Lauren Alaina has a big fan in Miley Cyrus.
On Wednesday's performance show — where the Top 6 sang Carole King classics — Cyrus, 18, surprised 16-year-old Alaina, offering pointers during her vocal lesson with mentors Jimmy Iovine and Babyface.
Moments after Iovine told Alaina she had to work on not letting her nerves get the best of her, Alaina was rendered speechless when Cyrus walked in.
"I listen to your music all the time and you're awesome," gushed Cyrus. "And I love hearing another accent like mine, it's so nice!"
Later, the girls bonded as Cyrus offered Alaina tips on how to handle the media and fans who may criticize her performance. (Ironically, two weeks ago, Interscope founder Iovine told Alaina she was a "much stronger singer" than Cyrus when Alaina covered "The Climb.")
When Alaina took to the stage to belt "Where You Lead" — which she chose after hearing it on Gilmore Girls — Cyrus' advice paid off.
"I'm so proud of you. I felt you push," judge Jennifer Lopez said after Alaina's soaring rendition. "…Those barriers are hard to break."
Randy Jackson praised Alaina for her added "swagger" and for "[coming] up with a vengeance." And despite a brief misstep — her voice cracked during a high note — Steven Tyler clearly noticed her growth as a performer.
"When your voice broke, that's where you shined," Tyler told Alaina, who brought a male American Idol intern onstage to serenade. "You keep shining the way you're doing, and keep breaking like that — that shows the character in your voice."
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