‘American Idol': HunterGirl Shines in ‘Cinderella Moment,’ Singing ‘I See the Light’ [Watch]
HunterGirl may be a country singer, but when she returned to the stage for American Idol’s "Disney Night" episode on Sunday (May 1), she showcased an entirely new side of herself, which had judges holding their gaze the entire time.
Performing "I See the Light" from the Disney film Tangled, HunterGirl stopped listeners in their tracks with her version of the heartfelt ballad. Surrounded by what looked like a purple wonderland onstage, the Tennessee native made pure vocal magic nailing every lyric of the song with an angelic-like tone while backed by orchestra musicians.
“There’s a moment in time when you just have to go, it’s graduation,” Lionel Richie said, acknowledging HunterGirl’s growth as an artist throughout the season. “Let me tell you something. From the first time we heard you and 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 can only say to you, that’s your whole career right there.”
“If this is how you sound going to Disneyland, then I recommend going at least once a week,” Katy Perry added. “I think the magic is real and it's really rubbing off on all of you tonight, you have never sounded better or held such spectacular notes. The way you push that vocal girl, this is your Cinderella moment!”
“That showed me so many dynamics of your career in the future,” Luke Bryan added. “The elegance and the beauty in that performance I can see at awards shows in the future where you have that spotlight. It was incredibly inspiring.”
Despite HunterGirl’s ability to adapt to certain types of music, Bryan reminded viewers of her place in country music, and how her representation of the genre is important, especially at a time when the country music world is reeling over the passing of Naomi Judd, one half of the legendary mother-daughter duo the Judds.
“Obviously you are a country girl from Tennessee. It was, just — it got me. I do want to, while I have the microphone, send out prayers to the Judd family. You’re out here and you’re going to carry the torch of the country music family. The country music family lost Naomi Judd yesterday, and my heart and everyone's heart goes out to the Judd family. I want to send prayers out,” Bryan said.
For the episode, all of the Top 10 contestants sang songs from Disney movies. Fans also voted for their favorite artist to make it into the Top 7. Host Ryan Seacrest called out the names of those advancing into the next phase of the competition, with HunterGirl being one of them.
Contestants who did not make the cut include Mike Parker, Lady K, and Emyrson Flora. American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.