It may be a little early to guess the winner of this season of American Idol, but the judges are confident that Hunter Metts will make it to the top ten.
Metts is a Tennessee-based singer and songwriter who sang Kaleo’s “App the Pretty Girls” while strumming along on the guitar, and Luke Bryan said that the performance gave him “the real deal chills” and “he almost started crying when he hit that one note.”
Katy Perry added, “I went future planning. I think you’re top 10.”
Lionel Richie was just as impressed, and told Metts, “We got plans for you, son. You understand me? All you got to do is stay in your lane and take us on a journey.”
Here’s what you need to know:
He Is a Former Software Engineer
In an interview with Williamson Homepage, Metts shared about the experience, “The show hasn’t even aired yet and I feel like I don’t even have words to describe how humbling and awesome the people around me have been.”
His parents are in the music industry but hit some hard times after Metts left high school. “I had pursued music a little bit after [high school, but] then my family had went through some hard times; some things kind of fell through for my dad in the music industry,” Metts said.
“During that time I decided that I didn’t want to really pursue music because it was so unsteady and it’s just such a risk, so I decided to go to coding school and from there and got a job coding. I played it safe.”
He explained that he thought about auditioning for Idol in the past, it “never felt like the right time.”
When he learned about the Zoom auditions, he got in a “waiting room, sang three songs for them and the rest came from there.” The songs he sang were “All the Pretty Girls” by KALEO, “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves, and a piece called “It’s You.”
Metts said of meeting the judges, “Just the opportunity to be in the same room with those names is something I never thought I’d get to do, so the fact that they’ll get to hear my voice, hear my heart and my story is something really special to me.”
Former Winners Talk to Billboard
In a recent interview with Billboard, Season 2 champion Ruben Studdard talked about his experience on the most recent season, and said it was a struggle “because I didn’t get to see the very people in person that had helped me reach my goals and dream.”
Speaking specifically about coming back to help this year, he said, “My inspiration is always the same when it comes to aspiring professional singers. It’s that I was once in their shoes and I know the road that lies ahead for them. Like many before me I had been trying to be a professional artist many years before my time on Idol. So understand how difficult it can be to continue pushing towards a goal that can sometimes seem unreachable.”
Will Studdard help guide Metts to the top 10 this season? Will Metts really be one of the final singers standing?
Watch American Idol Sundays at 8pm ET/PT to find out.