The lucky top five even got to sing on stage with Underwood, who, 13 years after winning the show, said that coming full circle felt very surreal. "It does feel pretty full circle," said Underwood. "In some ways, I kinda feel their nerves because it's like flashbacks, you know? This is like looking in a mirror, 13 years ago. Now I kind of get to be on the other side. I hope they can look at me and be like, okay, this is what's possible. I can still be doing this 13 years later."
Each of the contestants also got one-on-one time with Underwood, but it was when Underwood met her biggest fan, Gabby Barrett, that really touched our hearts. "Oh my gosh, I've looked up to you my whole entire life," Barrett told Underwood, as she cried tears of excitement. "I started singing country music because of you. I think you're an amazing example as a mom, and your husband is very attractive." The two ladies both laughed, before Barrett stood up to sing "Last Name" to her idol. Of the contestant, Underwood stated, "I'm amazed at Gabby's composure, and how much older she seems. She's so good." Underwood even told Barrett, "I do kinda see a lot of myself in you. But I was not as good as you are at your age. Once all of this craziness is over, you'll be able to figure out exactly who you want to be." Barrett shared that meeting Underwood was "the holy grail" for her. And some of Underwood's Idol luck may have even rubbed off on Barrett, who America voted into the final three along with Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson.
Of course, Underwood couldn't come back to her stomping grounds without performing, and she totally blew everyone away with her performance of her latest hit, "Cry Pretty." Even host Ryan Seacrest told Underwood, after her performance, that the song was like a workout. Seacrest then asked Underwood what she saw in the top five contestants after performing with them on stage. Underwood responded, "They're bringing it tonight. First and foremost. They mean business. And I'm just so proud that I got to be a part of that journey for them, because this is life-changing. This is real, this is their dreams coming true. And they're the nicest group of people. Like, I'm just, I'm in awe."