American Idol is currently in the middle of its landmark 20th season.
To celebrate the show’s “platinum” anniversary, one hopeful from each audition location will be awarded a platinum ticket in place of the iconic golden ticket. This special ticket sends the artist to the next stage of the competition in Hollywood and also allows them to skip a day of competition which could give them a huge advantage.
“They get to basically observe from the box seats at the theater—one day, they get to rest their voice, strategize, check out the competition, and select who they want to duet with,” judge Katy Perry shared. “They get a tiny advantage because they’re the cream of the crop.”
We saw the first platinum ticket of the season awarded on the first night of the season after Huntergirl (whose real name is Hunter Wolkonowski) stood in front of the judges and delivered a jaw-dropping cover of “Riot” by Rascal Flatts. The performance earned the singer a standing ovation and a “victory lap” from Luke Bryan who gave her one of the greatest compliments we’ve ever heard on the show and predicted that she would make it to the Top 10.
“It’s like a new-age Miranda Lambert deal going on,” Bryan told Hunter. “This is my fifth year doing this, and that is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in five years.”
During this round of competition, Huntergirl was allowed to choose her duet partner for the Duets Challenge, and she chose Cole Ritter.
After walking on stage, Hunter and Cole walked on stage and introduced themselves as “Backwood Mac,” because she’s a little redneck and their song choice was “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.
The new duo performed the sweet harmonies and earned high praise from all the judges.
“Country girl, you have an undeniable tone in your voice that just cuts through,” Perry noted. “You all did nothing wrong. You sounded great together.”
“Cole, you just put out an immediate vibe that you want to jump on board with some of that,” Bryan added.
They survived elimination and are moving on to the next round of competition, where we’re sure they will both do great! We can’t wait to see their performances.
Watch their “Dreams” duet below.