Lauren Alaina came thisclose to winning 'American Idol' last season, but she didn't need to the official title to launch a legitimate, more-than-respectable country career. She's doing just fine as the runner-up, but she still returned to the show's stage tonight (March 8, 2012) for a guest spot, performing her rowdy, rocking single 'Georgia Peaches.' My, how far she's come in a year.

Dressed in a hot pink, flowy top and black leggings, Alaina looked so grown up. Her hair was more of a platinum blonde shade and she reminded us of her own "Idol" Carrie Underwood with her command of the stage and her stylish look. She's developed as a performer, thanks to a whole year's worth of experience.

While singing, Alaina engaged the judge's panel, giving Randy Jackson a shout out while performing inches from their table. She also engaged the Top 13, many of whom were probably too nervous about their own fate to be fully paying attention to and enjoying her performance. Alaina sat amongst the boys while singing her ode to being a country gal, too.

Sadly, since the episode was live, host Ryan Seacrest didn't get a chance to shoot the breeze with Alaina post-performance. But it's not like we don't know what's going on with her since her career is on fire.

Let's hope that Season 11 wannabe Skylar Laine was absorbing every note that Alaina sang and every move that she made. These two are cut from the same cloth, and Laine could follow the same career path, if she plays her 'Idol' cards right.

Watch Lauren Alaina Perform 'Georgia Peaches' on 'American Idol'