Luke Bryan made it sound simple, and perhaps for Gabby Barrett, it will be.
Moments after Munhall’s Ms. Barrett, 18, completed a slam dunk of two songs on Sunday’s “American Idol,” the judge smiled and said it was her “mic drop moment; congratulations on being a big star.”
Fans of ABC’s “AI” reboot agreed. With more than 16 million live votes registered 3/4th of the way through the program, which was again simulcast across the country, Ms. Barrett breezed into the top five.
Joining her were Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe, Cade Foehner and Michael J. Woodard with Jurnee and Catie Turner going home. The top five were scheduled to jet off to Nashville to work with country star Carrie Underwood, who was an “American Idol” winner back in the day.
It was a night for mixing songs from the catalogue of the late, great Prince, with tunes from the year each contestant was born.
Ms. Barrett chose Lee Ann Womack’s 2000 “I Hope You Dance.” The judges agreed that the depth of emotion she brought to her performance was impressive.
“I have to be honest with you, Gabby,” said Katy Perry. “For the longest time, I thought ‘I’ve seen a few of those Gabbys.’ And tonight, what I heard in your voice was ‘there’s only one Gabby.’”
Luke Bryan was also effusive: “That may be one of the best vocals we’ve heard in this room thus far. You just did something really amazing for yourself in this competition.
“I cannot get over it.”
Nick Jonas, this week’s guest vocal coach, had suggested Ms. Barrett remember she is “as much a storyteller as a performer.” She delivered in both respects, and viewers agreed, sending her into next week’s final five.
Ms. Barrett even survived a wardrobe malfunction on live television. As she ran downstairs to the green room, she blurted out “I popped my top!” It was apparent that a strap broke on a black beaded top with long, silver dangling embellishment.
Who would have expected, on an “American Idol” night that highlighted songs from the catalogue of the late, great, Prince, that the wackiest would include those from the singers’ second numbers, tunes from the year they were born.
There was Mr. Woodard, a bowling alley attendant from Philadelphia, admitting he’d never seen “Titanic” but belting out “My Heart Will Go On.” Ms. Turner, a high school student from Langhorne, Pa., did what Ms. Perry described as an Amy Winehouse rendition of Britney Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again.”
“American Idol” just announced it will be taking the top seven singers on tour this summer, stopping at the Carnegie Library of Homestead in Munhall Sept. 13.