WATCH: Luke Bryan Deems Huntergirl a ‘New Age Miranda Lambert’ After Her ‘American Idol’ Audition

Did American Idol just discover the next female country superstar?  23-year-old Huntergirl (also known as Hunter Wolkonowski) left a lasting…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 27, 2022


8:54 pm

Share on:

Huntergirl; Photo by Eric McCandless, American Idol

Did American Idol just discover the next female country superstar? 

23-year-old Huntergirl (also known as Hunter Wolkonowski) left a lasting impression on the Idol judges with a cover of Rascal Flatts’ “Riot.” 

The Winchester, TN native, who works with veterans as a music therapist, earned a standing ovation from Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie and they couldn’t help but gush over her vocal abilities.

YouTube video

“Hunter, your voice cuts through, it is like a sharp knife. It’s just so nice to listen to, you can tell the story through and through,” Perry told her. ”It’s authentic… You’re obviously a good-hearted person with what you do helping Veterans.  You check so many different boxes. All you need is a shot.”

Bryan was so impressed with Huntergirl that he compared her to one of country music’s biggest stars. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by American Idol (@americanidol)

“I wrote Top 10 on my sheet… It’s like a new age Miranda Lambert deal going on,” Bryan exclaimed. “It’s my fifth year doing this and that is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in five years.”

Huntergirl; Photo by Eric McCandless, American Idol
Huntergirl; Photo by Eric McCandless, American Idol

The reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year then presented her with the golden ticket after she earned a ‘yes’ from each of the superstar Idol judges. 

“That’s real country right there,” Richie pointed out. “She will have a solid career in country.” 

“That is serious right there…” Bryan added. “Straight out of the country.”

After earning her ticket to Hollywood, Hunter thanked veterans for supporting her.

American Idol airs every Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

Share on:

Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.