Ahead of her performance, the Tennessee native sat down with American Idol alum Gabby Barrett, who returned to the show to offer the Top 14 contestants advice.
“This mentorship felt like it was sent from Heaven this week, because being the only female country artist in the competition right now, when I saw that Gabby Barrett was coming, I was like praise God,” Huntergirl, a 23-year-old from Winchester, Tennessee, said.
During their initial meeting, Huntergirl praised the “I Hope” singer for being a trailblazer for females in the country music genre.
“I can’t believe I get to meet you. You’ve done so much for all of us girls in country music,” Huntergirl told Barrett, who graciously accepted the compliment.
Of her song choice, Huntergirl revealed, “I’m going to be singing this song to my parents this week. I just want my parents to know that I see everything that they’ve done for me and hopefully I can give that back to them.”
After complimenting Huntergirl’s “classic, old-timey like country voice,” Barrett encouraged Huntergirl to channel her emotions during her performance.
“This is an emotional song for you, like an emotional connection to your parents. So try to really sing what you’re feeling, like you’re in that moment together. I remember doing that with my dad. I think your parents are going to be very proud.”
Upon hearing Huntergirl’s rehearsal of the Sugarland track, Barrett said “I got some chill bumps on that one.”
Donning a white fringe jacket and knee-high cowboy boots, Huntergirl performed the Sugarland tune as her mom and dad watched from the live audience.
“Dear Mom and Dad / Please send money, I’m so broke that it ain’t funny / I don’t need much/ just enough to get me through / Please don’t worry cause I’m alright / I’m playing here at the bar tonight / This time I’m gonna make our dreams come true / Well I love you more than anything in the world / Love, Your baby girl,“ Huntergirl sang on the chorus as the live audience watched on.
“My parents are here tonight, I love you guys,” Huntergirl said as she concluded her performance.
“Aw, you just have a heart of gold and a voice of gold. I just want to see you win,” Perry gushed. ”I think, everyone in America wants to see you win because you’re a legit great person with a great talent and you’re discovering all of the bigness of that talent right now on this stage and I like when you just do those runs, throw your hands up in the air and I see that fringe just go. I just want to see more of that. Next time I get to see you sing, I want ownership up on that stage. I know you got all of it in spades. I’d be so happy if you won this competition.”
“That was from top to bottom, I believe, your best that we’ve seen from you at American Idol, so far,” Bryan said. “It was the perfect song, and it was the perfect… Like I said when you really dug in, in the ending I was hoping for that the whole time and then if you hadn’t that would’ve been the only thing, but you did it and so you just put the cherry on top. Like I said, my favorite performance that I’ve seen you do and you’re on your way. Gabby was staring at her competition by the way.”
“There’s room for us all Luke,” Perry chimed in.
“I love the fact that you came looking the part, sounding the part, and what was that line? ‘Looks like money,’ well you look like money, you sound like money and actually I’m gonna tell you something. Right now, you look like an old pro on that stage. I want you to understand something, we’re so very proud of you and standing next to Gabby, that could be something for the stars.”
Huntergirl’s performance ultimately secured her a place in the Top 11. American Idol returns on Monday, April 25 at 8/7c on ABC.