WATCH: Luke Bryan Says Huntergirl Will ‘Carry the Torch of Country Music’ After Magical ‘Idol’ Performance

HunterGirl had what Katy Perry deemed a “Cinderella moment” during American Idol’s Disney Night on Sunday evening (May 1) following…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 1, 2022


9:49 pm

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Huntergirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol

HunterGirl had what Katy Perry deemed a “Cinderella moment” during American Idol’s Disney Night on Sunday evening (May 1) following a performance of a fan-favorite Disney hit. 

“It’s my little sister’s favorite Disney movie,” Huntergirl shared of Tangled, the movie that the song “I See The Light” appears in. 

Huntergirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Huntergirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Ahead of her show-stopping performance, Huntergirl had a chance to sit down with Dancing with the Stars pro Derek Hough to get a few pointers. Hough admitted that her stage presence blew him away. 

“The one thing that caught my by surprise a little bit was the unwavering eye contact throughout the whole song,” Hough told Huntergirl during rehearsals. “It shows a confidence there, it shows a certainty and it’s really, really powerful. Really beautiful.”

The singer/songwriter was thrilled over the chance to work with Hough, admitting, “It was so excited to get to meet him. Please pinch me, I feel the Disney magic here!”

Huntergirl with Ryland; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Huntergirl with Ryland; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Huntergirl not only enjoyed the opportunity to work with Hough, but she also enjoyed a surprise appearance from her sister. 

“The best part was my little sister, Rylan, surprised me. I love her and hadn’t seen her in so long, and it was the pick me up I needed going into Disney night and the Top 10,” she explained. “My sister and I, we loved Disney growing up. It was a huge part of my childhood and it feels like America’s letting me chase my dream right now.”

“She’s worked so hard for this, and I don’t know, it’s just so surreal that she’s getting to live what’s she been so passionate about for so long,” Rylan said of her sister.

The music therapist was over the moon ahead of her performance, admitting, “Disney taught me that I could chase my dreams and that anything could happen. It’s probably one of the best weeks of my entire life.” 

Joined by a small orchestra and donning a skin-tone dress with sequins, Huntergirl performed “I See the Light” from Disney’s Tangled. The singer truly allowed her powerhouse country vocals to be put on full display during her soaring performance. 

“Wow, Wow!” Katy Perry shouted in shock as Huntergirl concluded her performance. 

“So, there’s a moment in time when you just have to go graduation… It’s graduation, I mean, let me let you know something,” Lionel Richie said. ”From the time we first heard you, laid eyes on you, you were standing there with the idea of having a huge career in country music. To stand there and sing a Disney song that beautiful, I could only say to you that’s your whole career right there.”

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“It’s like you guys all just went to this magical place… If this is how you sound when going to Disneyland then I recommend going at least once a week. I think that the magic is real and it’s really rubbing off on all of you guys tonight,” Perry gushed.” I mean, you have never sounded better, held notes in such a spectacular way, you push that vocal girl, this is your Cinderella moment.”

“Yeah, that was umm… It showed me so many dynamics of your career in the future with that performance,” Luke Bryan gushed. ”I mean, obviously, you are a country girl from Tennessee, but the elegance and the beauty in that performance just like I can see award shows in the future where you have the spotlight. It was just incredibly inspiring.” 

Huntergirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Huntergirl; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Bryan then took a moment to pay tribute to the late Naomi Judd of The Judds. 

“I do want to, while I have the microphone, send out prayers to The Judd family. Country music family lost Naomi Judd and I think it was just my heart and I know everybody’s heart goes out to The Judd family,” he said, adding, “I had to say that because you’re out here and you’re gonna carry the torch of country music. That was a very inspiring performance.”

Huntergirl ultimately earned a spot in the Top 7 and will advance to the next round in the competition.

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

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Lauren Jo Black

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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.