HunterGirl and Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
HunterGirl and Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

HunterGirl Says Luke Bryan’s Endless Support On ‘American Idol’ “Meant Everything” To Her

American Idol season 20 runner-up HunterGirl said Idol judge Luke Bryan’s support during her time on the show “meant everything” to her in a new interview with TV Insider.

The Winchester, Tennessee native also shared that she’s looked up to Bryan since she was a little girl.

HunterGirl expressed gratitude for Bryan and him being there to “cheer [her] on” during the competition’s tougher moments.

“[American Idol] was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” HunterGirl told the outlet. “Getting to have Luke [Bryan] there to cheer me on meant everything. I’ve looked up to him since I was a little girl. There were moments when you are down, worried, or scared. We’re learning songs on the fly with a band, then we’re on TV. I do remember [during Contestant’s Choice week] I was really nervous and scared about getting the songs right. It was just a lot. [For finale week] we were running on no sleep to get everything done. It has been a nerve-wracking experience. It was cool to get to this point because I didn’t think I would make it past the Nashville audition,” she explained.

The Tennessee native, who was Idol‘s first-ever platinum ticket recipient, also praised one of this season’s celebrity mentors: Carrie Underwood.

“We had so many great mentors [this season],” HunterGirl said. “The one I was so excited and terrified to meet was Carrie Underwood. I’ve loved her for a long time and watched her on Idol. To see how far her career has gone made me think I could do this one day. She has shown so many little girls what was possible. She just told me to believe in myself. She said it was hard work, but you’ve got to keep pushing on. She gave me that confidence boost going into the final two weeks. She made me feel like I was good enough,” she added.

HunterGirl, who has been playing shows since the age of 14, auditioned for season 20 of Idol with a cover of Rascal Flatts’ song, “Riot.” Upon hearing her sing, Bryan dubbed her a “new age Miranda Lambert,” sharing that she was his “favorite female country voice” on the show.

“It’s my fifth year doing [American Idol] and that is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in five years,” Bryan said following her audition.

During the May 22 finale of Idol, Bryan joined HunterGirl on stage for a duet of Randy Travis’ “I Told You So.”

“Your #AmericanIdol journey has been incredible. I’m proud to have shared the stage with you @huntergirlmusic,” Bryan wrote on Twitter after the performance.

In addition to performing with Bryan, HunterGirl also released her debut single, “Red Bird” during her time on Idol. HunterGirl co-wrote the track, which connects seeing cardinals as visits from loved ones in Heaven, with Austin Goodloe and Matt McKinney.

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