ABC’s “American Idol” aired the first night of the Top 24 performances on Sunday, April 11, 2022. One of the contestants who competed in that first group was Platinum Ticket winner HunterGirl.
HunterGirl took to the stage to perform the Rascal Flats song “Banjo,” performing without her guitar for the first time.
“HAWAII YOU WERE INCREDIBLE!!” HunterGirl wrote on Instagram following the airing of the performance. “I had so much fun! I never thought I would ever get to see Hawaii, much less sing here. Thank you so much for having me! Also everyone make sure to vote via the 3 methods to ensure that I stay in the next round and make it to the top 20!”
Watch the Performance
Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie especially liked HunterGirls’ getting the crowd involved in her performance, which not a lot of the contestants were able to do.
“Well, I don’t know if you’re comfortable on stage, let’s see what the judges say,” long-time host Ryan Seacrest joked when the performance was over.
Perry told the contestant that she “ain’t worried” about her moving forward in the competition.
“You know how to work a crowd,” she shared. “People want to party with you! You know how to party! I want to party with you. This is the first time we’ve seen you perform without a guitar, and if I can be honest, there were a couple, like, tiny little pitch things that I have never, ever heard from you… but like I said, I’m not worried about you.”
Bryan encouraged HunterGirl’s choice to get away from the guitar and making the song choice that she did.
“The artist is the one who directs the crowd… a lot of times we don’t use that power,” Richie said. “So you have mastered that.”
HunterGirl also took the time to thank Jimmie Allen, who was a mentor for the first half of the Top 24 round.
“I want to say a huge thank you to @jimmieallen for being an unbelievable mentor. You are an incredible artist and person,” she wrote. “You make people smile and feel comfortable with who they are. Thank you for saying hi to my family after my performance. It meant the world to them. You are the best!!”
Fans Are Split About HunterGirl
Many fans were impressed with HunterGirl’s performance.
“I think she’s going to the top, no matter if she wins here or not,” one person wrote in the YouTube comments.
Another person wrote, “Hunter is a seasoned pro and she owned that stage. Loved the song choice for her as it was very smart and she sang the crap out of it. I freaking loved it! There were a few pitchy parts but it’s no problem and I’m not worried for her at all honestly. She’s my favorite country artist this season.”
On the live Reddit thread during the episode, however, some fans did not like HunterGirl as much.
“I’m not committing to Huntergirl — I just don’t feel her. She sounds like any random country girl to me,” one person wrote.
Another said, “She won the platinum ticket. I don’t mean to be rude, but I expected a bit better.”
“I will go all season long wondering why the judges gave Huntergirl a platinum ticket,” another reply reads.
The fate of HunterGirl will be revealed on the Sunday, April 17 episode when the top 20 contestants are revealed. If she moves forward in the competition, it will be based on votes from viewers.
“American Idol” airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time on ABC.
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