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During Sunday night's episode, the top 12 remaining contestants gave it all they had singing Oscar-nominated songs. As host Ryan Seacrest announced, three would be sent packing at the end of the night after the votes were tallied. It was a stressful night for the American Idol finalists — and some felt the pressure more than others.
Despite his incredible vocal talent, finalist Hunter Metts struggled in the last few seconds of his performance of "Falling Slowly" from Once. After forgetting a few of the words at the end, he began crying on stage. Ryan tried to comfort Hunter by telling him "it happens," but it was Katy's compliments that further helped the artist calm down.
"Hunter! That was the best performance you have ever given," Katy began. After seeing Hunter struggle to fight back more tears, Katy offered up her sage wisdom.
"Perfection is an illusion. It's an illusion, it does not matter. That shows that you are human and vulnerable and everybody relates to that," Katy exclaimed. "It's amazing, it's emotion and that's what music is. I know this is a lot of pressure but it's not about perfection — it's about resonating with people and you just did. What an incredible, an incredible song choice.
She concluded: "Listen, Hunter, you connected with us. You kept your eyes open, your heart open. You were so connected that you forgot where you were and that is perfect."
Fellow judge Luke Bryan, who missed last week due to a positive COVID test, added onto Katy's comments by saying that watching him was an "intense" experience. He also said Hunter's falsetto parts were some of the best he's ever heard since joining Idol.
Lionel Richie also had nothing but nice things to say to Hunter, recalling a time he forgot the lyrics to his own smash hit "Hello" while performing on stage. "I thought it was the worst night of my life, [but] the crowd loved it," Lionel recalled.
Fans watching Hunter at home seemed to agree with the judges. "My heart aches for this man. He is so talented and he has no freaking clue," one fan wrote on Youtube. "He’s so critical of himself. But he doesn’t know he is so relatable. He could actually win the whole show!" another said.
Last night, Hunter took one step closer to the title. After a night of spectacular performances, Hunter earned enough love from fans to make it into the top nine. Unfortunately, the journey ended for Ava August, Beane and Madison Watkins.
Only time will tell if Hunter winds up becoming the next American Idol. But regardless, it's clear that the judges — especially Katy — are cheering him on every time he steps onto the stage.
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