When given the task to choose from three songs that the Idol judges handpicked for her, including Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” Parton’s “Here You Come Again,” The Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” HunterGirl chose her fellow East Tennessee native’s “9 to 5.”
“I don’t know which one I’m going to pick yet, it’s a hard choice,” the contestant admitted. “They picked three great songs, and now I’m just like ‘oh my gosh, which child is my favorite?’ When the judges picked two Dolly Parton songs, I was like okay, I think they want me to do a Dolly song.”
Ahead of her performance, while chatting with Idol’s associate musical director, Justin Avery, and Idol’s vocal coach, India Carney, HunterGirl shared why she chose Parton’s “9 to 5.”
“It’s more like 6 AM to 9 PM, for me right now,” HunterGirl joked, before explaining her decision.
“When I was a little girl, I grew up in East Tennessee, so I listen to her all the time. So were my grandparents, every time I went in the house, they were listening to Dolly Parton.”
The music therapist, who often works with veterans, admitted that singing the song would be a bit of a challenge for her.
“I’m going to be breathing hard after this one, maybe I could hit some notes that I never thought I could before, challenge myself a whole lot and I just want to make Dolly proud with this song,” she shared.
Following her performance of the iconic country hit, host Ryan Seacrest challenged her to guess which Idol judge picked the song for her to perform.
“I thought Lionel picked this one, I thought it’d be funky and fun and we’d all have a good time,” Huntergirl guessed, before Richie revealed he was not the one who choose that song.
It was then revealed that Luke Bryan chose the song and he celebrated her choice with a dance from the judges’ panel before allowing Lionel Richie and Katy Perry comment on her performance.
“‘Here we come again’ that was me,” Richie shared. “Your performance was absolutely amazing!”
“You know you took my advice from last night about the stage presence and you interacted with those background vocalists. I mean, that was great, you showed me there’s more. There’s more sparkle, just add rhinestones girl, you embody Dolly,” Perry complimented.
With a record-breaking 19 million votes cast for the Top 10, HunterGirl ultimately advanced to the next round.
American Idol airs every Sunday and Monday at 8/7c on ABC.