‘American Idol’s Gabby Barrett Named “Artist To Watch” by Amazon Music — Defacto Winner?

gabby barret mady poppy american idol

Gabby Barrett may not have won Season 16 of American Idol, but she seems to be on the fast track to a successful music career regardless. In fact, she’s arguably had even more success than the show’s most recent winners.

Amazon has named Gabby one of their “Artists to Watch” for 2020. Her song “I Hope” made it onto the site’s playlist of “up-and-coming artists” who are “poised to make a mark on 2020.”

Gabby Barrett Finds Success After ‘American Idol’

Many people believed Gabby would win Season 16 of American Idol in 2018, with some calling her the next Carrie Underwood. However, she ended up placing third, with Caleb Lee Hutchinson coming in second and Maddie Poppe winning the season.


But as we’ve seen time and time again, you don’t have to win American Idol to find success in the music industry. In fact, sometimes the non-winners do better than the winners. That looks like it might be the case for Gabby, who had more than 21 million streams on Spotify in 2019.

Gabby previewed a new song called “Hall of Fame” on her Instagram this week. Her personal life has also been flourishing, as she recently married fellow American Idol contestant Cade Foehner. And did we mention that Gabby is only 19 years old?

Is Gabby More Successful Than Recent ‘Idol’ Winners?

There was some controversy last year over whether American Idol was promoting winner Maddie Poppe’s music enough. Maddie herself spoke up about this on Twitter.

The issue was deepened when Gabby Barrett appeared on Season 17 to perform her single “I Hope.” Some fans wondered why the show was willing to promote a non-winner’s music instead of the winner’s. Did Idol predict that Gabby would find more success than Maddie?


Gabby, unlike Maddie, has yet to release an album. However, she has more followers on Instagram and more subscribers on YouTube. Gabby’s “I Hope” video has 24 million views, which is four times as many as Maddie’s most popular video, for “Going Going Gone.”

There’s a subtle yet noticeable contentious relationship between the hardcore fans of Gabby Barrett and Maddie Poppe. While the Gabby fans are still not over the fact she didn’t win, the Maddie fandom has grievances with the show for seemingly pushing Gabby over Maddie.


For the record, we at Talent Recap love them both!

The Gabby Barrett the next Carrie Underwood?

Throughout the show and since, Gabby Barrett has been compared to Carrie Underwood and with good reason! Both the ladies started on talent shows, the way they both sing and their country roots are more similar than you would ever imagine.

Is ‘American Idol’ turning into ‘The Voice’?

Not in terms of ratings but the fact that a record deal isn’t good enough for the artist? Considering last year’s winner Laine Hardy hasn’t even released any new music since his win, we can also argue that Gabby is doing better than him at the moment. Which further just goes on to show that even if you’re technically a “loser,” you can still be a winner. And the “winners” might have a record deal on paper but is that a sure shot way to be successful?

Do you agree with Amazon’s “Artist To Watch in 2020”? Gabby Barrett had repeatedly said that her goals were “winning American Idol is definitely the first one, but Madison Square Garden – I want to make it there in five years time.” You think she’ll make it? We do!


Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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