Celebrity judge Katy Perry hopped to her feet to applaud when Lakeland’s Kimmy Gabriela finished singing “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple” on Monday night’s “American Idol.” And Perry once again said of the George Jenkins High School senior, “She’s Top 10.”

Gabriela gushed on camera as she emerged from backstage: “Katy stood up for me. Yes! That’s all I wanted. I wanted to redeem myself, and I did. I feel so great. It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

The redemption she spoke of was a comeback from the previous night’s show where she felt she didn’t give her best performance in a duet with fellow contestant Elyjuh Rene.

Perry has been a big fan of Gabriela’s and declared her “Top 10” following her audition in Savannah.

On Monday’s show, contestants selected from a list of songs and were given limited time to practice before performing in front of a live band.

Gabriela next performs when “American Idol” returns Sunday at 8 on ABC. The show also airs next Monday. After that, the show is suspended because of coronavirus concerns. Shows were pre-recorded weeks ago, and taping is expected to resume once the pandemic plays out.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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