It’s pretty hard to own the ‘American Idol’ stage when there’s a delay in the start of your song due to technical difficulties. Hollie Cavanagh can attest to that, after the start of her performance of ‘What a Feeling’ (from the movie ‘Flashdance’) was delayed because the crew was having trouble getting power to the keyboard.

But the adorable Texas sweetheart kept her wits about her and didn’t miss a beat. Her voice was spot on at the beginning of the song and it seemed to come from somewhere deep in the Earth. Unfortunately for Hollie, because of her nerves and what seemed to be some rushing from the band, her performance felt stiff and “by the book,” despite advice from her mentors to not be so technical and just “get into that moment and freefall.”  Her first movements felt planned, but once she hit the big note, she was finally in it and owned it at the end.

The judges noticed. Steven Tyler told her right away that she always manages to arrive. He said, “Your songs are always there at the end.” He also felt like her pitch was all over the place until she finally got it together at the end.

J. Lo agreed that she hadn’t quite hit it. She has noticed that Hollie listens and takes to heart all the advice that she’s given. She told her it was smart to listen to the wisdom that’s being passed on to her, but that she needs take it in and let it go on the stage. She said, “You don’t release. You don’t let go.” Randy Jackson backed Steven and J. Lo up in his feedback. But he assured her they know she can do it. He said, “You have the talent. That’s why we say these things to you.”

The judges clearly want to love her because she has a deeply rooted, amazing voice, but they have to see what happens if she can just get out of her head and let it all out on the stage.

Watch Hollie Cavanagh Perform ‘What a Felling’ on ‘American Idol’

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