‘American Idol': HunterGirl Commands the Stage With a Rascal Flatts Hit [Watch]
HunterGirl (Hunter Wolkonowski) has been a standout on American Idol ever since she auditioned for the Season 20 show with Rascal Flatts’ “Riot.” And when she took the stage on Sunday night (April 10) for a new performance as part of the Top 24, she proved exactly why she's still in the singing competition.
Offering up yet another take on another Rascal Flatts hit, the talented hopeful launched into the former country band’s hit "Banjo," from their eighth studio album, Changed.
Unlike her previous performances, HunterGirl sang this time without her guitar — a decision she made to help herself step out of her comfort zone. And while the 23-year-old Tennessee native did admit she was nervous without her instrument, she showed that she had more to offer as an artist. She delivered the country song with vocal prowess and also moved about on the stage to give fans the full picture of who she is as an entertainer.
After her guitarless debut, HunterGirl received thunderous applause from the audience, who were lucky enough to score a ticket to the show, held at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii.
“I ain’t worried about you girl,” Katy Perry told HunterGirl of her “Banjo” cover. “You know how to work a crowd. People want to party with you. You know how to party. I want to party with you. You know, it’s the first time I have ever seen you without a guitar. I felt like, if I can be a little honest, there were a couple of tiny little pitch things that I had never heard from you. So I don’t know if that was a product of you not strumming on guitar and stuff, but as I said, I’m not worried about you.”
“The fact that you have the sense to come out here and play a song on the beat that gets people dancing — I love the song choice,” Luke Bryan added. “The fact that you can get away from your guitar, entertain the crowd, and have fun is a big huge feather in your cap. Good job.”
Lionel Richie also commended HunterGirl for her performance, particularly for her ability to “direct a crowd.” “You have mastered that,” he said.
Before taking the stage, HunterGirl had Jimmie Allen helping her prepare for her latest vocal victory. He was on hand to mentor the 12 contestants who were on the bill to perform that evening as part of the Top 24. In rehearsals, he told HunterGirl to use the stage to her advantage by moving her body.
Of course, the celebrity cast can only do so much, as it’s up to America to now decide who will move forward in the competition with voting open at AmericanIdol.com/Vote. Viewers can also vote by Texting 11 to 21523.
American Idol Season 20 will return on Monday night (April 11) with twelve new performances from the Top 24 on ABC.
See American Idol Contestants Then and Now