'American Idol' Season 18 Episode 8: Kimmy Gabriela kicks off solo round with superb rendition of 'I'm Here'

Having delivered a passably average performance during the previous Hollywood Duets round, Kimmy was not happy with her subpar showing and was determined to show the judges her best side


                            'American Idol' Season 18 Episode 8: Kimmy Gabriela kicks off solo round with superb rendition of 'I'm Here'
Kimmy Gabriela (ABC)
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The latest episode of 'American Idol' just kicked off on Monday night, March 23, and this time we've dived headfirst into the solo round in Hollywood Week.

Kimmy Gabriela was first up and the 17-year-old from Florida proved she had what it takes by taking on the new challenge. Having delivered a passably average performance during the previous Hollywood Duets round, Kimmy was not happy with her subpar showing and was determined to show the judges that she deserved to stay in the contest. 

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The new solo round in Hollywood Week added a new level of pressure and complexity to the singing competition, with the contestants given the option of picking songs from a preselected list. They were then given a limited time to practice and were expected to shine with American Idol's official backing band behind them for company. For people with no experience playing with professional musicians, it would prove to be a stern test. Thankfully, Kimmy proved she was more than up for the challenge and delivered an outstanding rendition of 'I'm Here' from 'The Color Purple'.

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With her song choice, Kimmy said she was hoping to prove to the judges that she was still here despite all the odds and definitely deserved to stay in the competition. Like she told the show's fulltime mentor Bobby Bones, Kimmy wanted to "Go big or go home."


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Her performance was exemplary, from beautiful, delicate falsettos to belting those powerful peak notes at the height of her register, Kimmy was really on top of her game. She received a standing ovation from the judges and Katy Perry even commended Kimmy on her "cool song choice."

The rest of the episode ratcheted up the tension as the judges made their final decisions and proceeded to cut a third of the talent pool down to size. Kimmy was part of the 40 lucky singers who were selected to go to Aulani, Hawaii, where they would perform in front of a live audience and then face further judgment from Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. We hope Kimmy makes the live shows (now halted due to coronavirus) because she's uber-talented. 

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Her fans were rooting for her on social media as well. "Kimmy Gabriela. Just breathtakingly amazing. Wow," said one amazed viewer. "Kimmy Gabriela is probably the best person I’ve seen cross American Idol's stage in like 5 years. Obsessed," said another ardent admirer.

Based on the strength of her performances so far, Kimmy can certainly count on a lot of love and support from the American public. Here's hoping she makes the cut in Hawaii.

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