Gabby Barrett is a country superstar, but once upon a time, she was just a nervous American Idol contestant. As the “I Hope” singer, 20, competed on the first season of the Idol reboot, she said that judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, imparted an important piece of wisdom that’s helped her beyond the show. “It was something they said early on in the competition. I was so nervous on the show all the time. I was so nervous. When you care about something so much, you get so nervous and you don’t want to mess up,” Gabby explained when she stopped by the HollywoodLife podcast for an EXCLUSIVE interview. “There’s 60 million people watching and three celebrities who don’t mess up.”
Gabby said she unfortunately struggled with a sound issue during a performance on American Idol that caught her off guard. “I had performed for six years before American Idol. During that time I never really experienced sound issues onstage, and on Idol we unfortunately did for a couple rounds,” she said. “I got a little flustered from the sound in the ear monitors and stuff messing up. It just made me all the more nervous. [Lionel] said to remember: when you’re performing for an audience and something goes wrong on the stage, you’re the only one that knows something is going wrong.”
That helped Gabby with her confidence. Even if she felt like the performance was going to be bad, she couldn’t let the audience know what she was thinking. “They don’t know,” she explained. “And [Lionel] said, ‘You’ve got to just play it off. It’s about everybody else when you step on the stage. It’s not about you anymore. And so if you play it off, nobody else is going to know.'” Amazing advice! And Gabby definitely agrees. She’s taken that lesson along with her beyond American Idol, and it shows.