HunterGirl, born Hunter Wolkonowski, is keeping the party rocking on the 20th season of American Idol. In the luau-themed episode on Aulani—a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii—the 23-year-old singer performed a rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “Banjo.”
And, in short, her cover of the 2012 song impressed the judges. “I ain’t worried about you girl, you know how to work a crowd. People want to party with you, you know how to party. I want to party with you,” judge Katy Perry told HunterGirl.
The judges also noted that this was HunterGirl’s first performance without her guitar or her self-proclaimed “safety blanket.” The singer had taken a risk with her Top 24 performance, and it paid off.
“You know, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you without a guitar. I felt like if I could be a little honest, there were a couple of tiny little pitch things that I’ve never, ever heard from you. So, I don’t know if that was a product of you not strumming on the guitar and stuff, but like I said I’m not worried about you,” Perry continued.
“The fact that you have the sense to come out here and play the song on the beat, you get people dancing and I love the song choice,” judge 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!”
Judge Lionel Richie echoed his fellow judges saying, “What makes it interesting is to watch the crowd and how you do this one little word called entertain. Believe it or not, what most people don’t understand is the artist is the one who directs the crowd.”
Watch HunterGirl perform “Banjo” below.
Photo Credit: ABC/Kent Phillips