‘American Idol': HunterGirl Works Her Way Into Top 10 With Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ [Watch]
As one of three country finalists still in the running for the crowning win, she represented her genre peers with another country hit as part of her performance. Singing Parton's “9 to 5," HunterGirl had a tall order, but she proved that she was up for the challenge.
For her shining moment, HunterGirl sported a sequin-covered jacket and a matching skirt and commanded the crowd with her stage presence. She belted out the lyrics of the classic country tune while backed by a group of background singers. Her energy was so infectious even Luke Bryan couldn’t help but sing and dance along to the cover.
“Your performance was absolutely amazing,” Lionel Richie told HunterGirl, a recipient of the coveted Platinum Ticket, who has remained a frontrunner throughout the competition.
Katy Perry then praised her, saying, “You know, you took my advice from last night about the stage presence, and then you interacted with those background vocalists. I mean, that was great! You showed me there’s more sparkle. You embody Dolly!”
The latest episode didn’t just feature the contestants going head-to-head, but it also had the judges competing with each other. Dubbing the show ‘Judge’s Song Contest,’ Perry, Bryan and Richie gave each performer a song to choose from. HunterGirl also had the choice of singing “Here You Come Again” by Parton or “Wide Open Spaces” by the Chicks. She decided on “9 to 5,” as she felt the tune would challenge her vocals.
“I grew up in East Tennessee, so I listened to [Dolly] all of the time. Every time I went to my grandparents' house, they were listening to her,” HunterGirl explains in a clip ahead of her performance. “I’m going to be breathing hard after this one. Maybe I can hit some notes that I never thought I could before and challenge myself a whole lot. I just want to make Dolly proud with this song."
As it turns out, HunterGirl made America proud. Votes were cast throughout the two-hour broadcast, which aired live coast-to-coast for the second time this season. At the end of the show, Ryan Seacrest named the contestants who earned enough of America's votes to make it into the Top 9. HunterGirl was one of those names.
Fellow hopeful Lady K did not make it into the Top 9. However, as part of an unexpected twist in the final seconds of the broadcast, both Perry and Bryan were able to save her as their only pick, turning the Top 9 into the Top 10.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.