Up-and-coming country singer Janelle Arthur sang the Garth Brooks classic 'The Dance' on 'American Idol' on Wednesday night (April 10), earning a somewhat mixed response from the judges despite a strong performance.

Arthur chose the song as part of the theme of the night, which saw contestants performing songs they wish they had written. She spoke about connecting with the song when she was 11 years old, realizing it was about more than just a dance -- it was about what she called "the dance of life."

She delivered the song in a stripped-down arrangement that emphasized her natural, understated vocal performance, demonstrating once again her uncanny penchant for singing right to the heart of a song without over-singing. She gained power in the second chorus to finish big -- but not too big.

"Great song," Randy Jackson said, praising Brooks as a great songwriter.

Mariah Carey admitted she had never heard the song before, saying, "It was true -- I felt you."

Keith Urban corrected Jackson by pointing out that Nashville tunesmith Tony Arata actually wrote the song, adding that while he liked the performance, he felt Arthur missed an opportunity to come out and deliver it in a straight acoustic rendition by herself.

"That was such a sweet song," said Nicki Minaj. "I definitely think you stepped it up," she added, but said she still didn't feel that Arthur had delivered strong enough to compete with the evening's best performances.

Arthur will learn her fate on the results show on Thursday night (April 11).

Hear Janelle Arthur Sing 'The Dance' on 'American Idol'

Janelle Arthur - The Dance - American Idol 12... by IdolxMuzic