There’s been a lot of talk about whether American Idol still produces big stars. In its heyday, winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood became household names. These days, even the most successful contestants aren’t as high-profile.
However, judge Katy Perry believes American Idol is still an important stepping stone for young singers to become stars. She used Season 16 finalist Gabby Barrett as an example twice on Sunday.
Katy Perry Says ‘American Idol’ Still Produces Stars
During Sunday night’s first at-home episode of American Idol, Katy told contestant Dillon James that he has a promising career ahead of him whether he wins the show or not. She pointed to Gabby Barrett as an example.
“Gabby Barrett just had a No. 1 country song last week,” Katy told Dillon. “She didn’t even win the show. If you get to be Top 10, that could be your future next year. It’s all what you make of it. Your dreams are in your hands at this point.”
Katy is referring to Gabby Barrett’s song “I Hope,” which recently reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. She joins Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini, and Carrie Underwood as a female solo artist hitting No. 1 on the country chart with a debut song.
Gabby, who placed third in Season 16, recently released a duet version of “I Hope” with pop star Charlie Puth. She was also named Artist to Watch by Amazon earlier this year.
Is It Better Not To Win ‘American Idol’?
Katy also mentioned Gabby’s success in a live video with fans before Sunday’s show. “It’s wild, American Idol is still turning out stars,” Katy said, pointing to Gabby’s hit song. “It’s amazing to see the success of these kids, and what they do with it afterwards.”
While the recent incarnation of the show hasn’t created a star as big as the earliest seasons, it might actually be better for contestants not to win the show. Gabby is one example, as even American Idol has given her more attention than actual Season 16 winner Maddie Poppe.
Earlier this season, the show made a huge deal out of Alejandro Aranda’s success since Season 17, while hardly even mentioning winner Laine Hardy. Will the same thing happen to this season’s winner? We’ll see soon enough.