American Idol returned on Sunday evening with performances from the Top 24, who were vying for America’s vote for the first time ever. HunterGirl, the contestant who earned the first-ever Platinum Ticket following her audition in Nashville, once again impressed, this time with a rousing rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “Banjo.”
Prior to her performance, Huntergirl was joined by Idol mentor and CMA Best New Artist Jimmie Allen, who welcomed her to the luxurious resort with a tropical drink in hand.
“The thing that makes me nervous is that I’m not playing guitar this time,” Huntergirl confessed to Allen, admitting her guitar is her “safety blanket.”
Allen offered her advice and encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone.
“She has the vocal power, right now she’s all about delivering the full picture of an entertainer,” the country hitmaker shared.
While on stage, HunterGirl took Allen’s words to heart as she commanded the stage with confidence and truly let her showmanship shine.
Katy Perry admitted to hearing a few vocal mishaps throughout her performance, but praised her overall.
“I ain’t worried about you girl, you know how to work a crowd. People want to party with you, you know how to party. I want to party with you. You know, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you without a guitar,” Perry said. “I felt like if I could be a little honest, there were a couple tiny little pitch things that I’ve never, ever heard from you. So, I don’t know if that was a product of you not strumming on the guitar and stuff, but like I said I’m not worried about you.”
“The fact that you have the sense to come out here and play the song on the beat, you get people dancing and I love the song choice,” Luke Bryan added. “The fact that you can get away from your guitar, entertain the crowd and have fun is a big huge feather in your cap, good job!”
Lionel Richie was equally impressed.
“What makes it interesting is to watch the crowd and how you do this one little word called entertain. Believe it or not what most people don’t understand is the artist is the one who directs the crowd,” Richie told her. “If you say everybody stand up, they’ll stand up, if you say everyone put your hands together, they’ll put their hands together. A lot of times they don’t use that power. So you have mastered that and I give you a big applause for that.”
Huntergirl previously impressed the American Idol judges with covers of popular country hits, including Rascal Flatts and Ashley McBryde.
To vote for Huntergirl visit AmericanIdol.com/Vote or Text 11 to 21523.