Season 20 american idol broadcast live from coast to coast for the first time on Sunday evening (April 24), featuring hit performances from the Top 14.
HunterGirl, 23, has stayed ahead of the competition so far, blasting her way through each challenge with renditions of songs like Rascal Flatts’ “Banjo,” Miranda Lambert’s “Vice,” and an original song titled “Heartbreak Down”.
This time, she delivered an impressive cover of Sugarland’s “Baby Girl.” The Tennessee native and music therapist – who won one of three platinum tickets at the start – dedicated her song choice to her parents, who were watching from the side stage.
As the only woman representing the country genre in the Top 14, HunterGirl, full name Hunter Wolkonowski, was in good hands. Prior to her performance, she received advice from eldersIdol Gabby Barrett, who appeared in the episode to mentor the remaining contestants.
“I mean, you sound great,” Barrett told HunterGirl during rehearsals, calling her voice “classic” and “old school.” “It’s like a moving song for you. Like an emotional connection to your parents. Sing it really how you feel, like you were together at the time, and I think your parents are going to be very proud.
On stage, HunterGirl took Barrett’s advice and gave a great performance of the song. She appeared relaxed and in her element while being supported by a group of harmony singers. She donned a white fringed jacket with matching cowgirl boots and strummed on her guitar as Polaroid photos scrolled on screens behind her.
“You just have a heart of gold and a voice of gold, and I just want to see you win,” Katy Perry told HunterGirl after the performance. “I think everyone in America wants to see you win because you’re a legitimate person with great talent. You’re discovering the greatness of that talent right now on this stage.
Luke Bryan followed Perry’s compliments with his own comments.
“It was, top to bottom, I believe, the best moment we’ve seen of you on american idol“, he exclaimed. “It was the perfect song… when you dug into the ending, I was hoping for that the whole time. If you hadn’t, that would have been the only thing, but you did, and that just put the icing on the cake. And like I said, that was my favorite performance that I’ve seen you do. And you are on your way.
“I love that you came to pick up the part, sound the part, and what those lyrics were like, ‘Sounds like money?’ Well, you look like money, you talk like money, and actually, I’ll tell you something right now, you look like an old pro on this stage. We’re so proud of you.” , added Lionel Richie.
For the episode, the voting window opened at the top of the show and ended before the final commercial break. Luckily for HunterGirl, she now finds herself competing as part of the Top 11.
american idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.
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