Nate Walker had an advantage coming onto ‘American Idol’ — his friendship with season 16’s Gabby Barrett! We caught up with Gabby EXCLUSIVELY to find out the advice she gave him before his audition and more.
Gabby Barrett finished in third place on season 16 of American Idol, so she was the perfect person for Nate Walker to turn to for advice ahead of his season 17 audition. Gabby and Nate knew each other before going on the show, and she was able to tell him just what he needed to hear to get through to Hollywood Week. “I told him two main things,” Gabby told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I said…make sure to keep the Lord first. We started in a church, so he understands the same religious values. I just reminded him to keep the Lord first and to stay unbelievably focused because that is such a key in the competition. It’s so easy to get distracted. You have days off and you’re meeting with your friends. I was just in a corner with my headphones, never saying anything to anybody. I concentrated on every next attack in the competition, and it helped me get to the finale. Focus is so important.”
Nate struggled a bit during the grueling Hollywood Week portion of the competition, and was even briefly hospitalized after falling ill during Group Rounds! However, he pulled through, and even though his voice was super hoarse, he performed with his team and got to the Solo Round. At that point, his voice was still scratchy, but the judges noticed his raw talent, and voted him through to the Top 40. “Hollywood Week is very crucial,” Gabby admitted. “It’s very hard and he cracked a little by going to the hospital, but it’s a really hard week on everybody. That week separates the weak from the strong, so you have to see who really cracks and who doesn’t.”
Gabby recently got engaged to the fourth place finalist on her season, Cade Foehner, who also took part in our interview. As of now, the singers don’t have any set plans to return to Idol during the 17th season, but they’re definitely open to it. “Of course, we would do anything for Idol,” Cade said. “We have our careers because of that. Certainly we hope to go back one day and mentor some people, something like that, or going on together or something like that. We’ll see what happens.”
American Idol continues with the Showcase Round & Final Judgment on its March 31 episode. The judges will be cutting the group down to 20 people, so Nate, along with all the other contestants, will definitely have to bring their A-games if they want to move on!