OFFSTAGE: Kellie Pickler Finds Tammy Wynette on American Idol

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

The song asks “Where’s Tammy Wynette when you need her?” But Thursday night (April 5), on American Idol, I think Kellie Pickler found her. Or at least captured her spirit for a few minutes. Ryan Seacrest introduced 2006 Idol contestant Pickler as a bona fide country powerhouse, and did she prove him right. In tight jeans and a silky blue top, she sang what I consider one of the very best and sassiest country songs ever. And even if the Idol audience wasn’t packed with Wynette fans, they sure seemed to be going crazy for Pickler. “I was backstage about to have an anxiety attack,” she told Seacrest about being there for the elimination show. “This is the hardest part of the show. It’s so sad to see anyone have to go home because we’re all here chasing the same dream.” Right before the show, Pickler tweeted, “April 6, 1998, Country music lost a Honky Tonk Angel. Tonight on American Idol I’ll be singing this one for Tammy! #TammyWynette” I sure hope Tammy was watching.