Luke Bryan Believes He Found The Next Miranda Lambert On 'American Idol'

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Luke Bryan immediately beamed with an ear-to-ear smile when Huntergirl delivered her rendition of a Rascal Flatts song for her historic American Idol audition — and the country giant hailed her “a new age Miranda Lambert.”

Hunter Wolkonowski, 23, introduced herself as Huntergirl when she stepped into her audition for the panel of celebrity judges, which includes Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. The Tennessee Idol hopeful explained that when she isn’t working on music for herself, she works with veterans in music therapy. Huntergirl listens to their war stories and turns them into songs as a therapeutic way to help them cope with PTSD.

Performing Rascal Flatts’ “Riot,” Huntergirl quickly earned approval from all three judges. She got a standing ovation as soon as she finished singing — and Bryan took a giddy jog around the room.

“Hunter, your voice cuts through. It is like a sharp knife,” Perry gushed. “It’s just so nice to listen to, you can tell the story through and through, it’s authentic. You are obviously a good-hearted person, with what you do helping veterans. I mean, you check so many different boxes. All you need is a shot.”

Bryan made a bold prediction: Huntergirl would compete in the Top 10 of American Idol’s historic 20th season. The “Up” singer also dubbed her a “new age Miranda Lambert,” asking her to sing the chorus again with a slight adjustment. Taking the key up a half step, Huntergirl wowed the judges a second time.

If that wasn’t enough, Huntergirl is also the first recipient of the platinum ticket, making American Idol history. Host Ryan Seacrest explained in a video shared to the show’s Instagram story:

“We all know the golden ticket gets you to Hollywood, but this year — this is historic — for the first time, we have the platinum ticket. There are only three of these for the entire season. And, if the judges vote unanimously for you to get this as a contestant, then you bypass the first round of Hollywood week. It’s a game changer.”

“This is my fifth year doing this,” Bryan said, “and that is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in five years.”

Watch Huntergirl’s audition here: