Kimmy Gabriela is like everyone else competing in the Top 20 of American Idol this year. The 17-year-old found herself missing the big stage a little bit especially after what she referred to as an "epic" time performing at the Aulani Resort during the Hawaii Round. With the hit ABC singing competition switching gears amid the coronavirus pandemic and transitioning into an at-home format for the final few rounds, contestants realized that their moment in paradise may have been their final chance to perform in front of a huge audience with a band backing them up on stage.
Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com, Gabriela isn't complaining about now operating from the friendly-confines of her Lakeland, Florida residence. After all, she says she would never trade in that experience in Hawaii. "That was epic," she said ahead of Sunday's episode in which the Top 20 will get trimmed in half. "No words to describe the adrenaline rush you get when the bands start and the people start cheering and you see your family in the audience. It's an absolutely incredible experience. Ten out of ten."
Making things a bit easier for Gabriela is something not many people in the competition have at this point. She has the support of her father, who just so happens to be famous Latin singer, Gabina Amparo. Throughout this process, he has been able to teach her the ins-and-outs of the industry and provide constructive criticism as she continues her growth as a performer. "He has been a huge rock. Anytime I feel insecure about song choice or the way I'm putting together a song, I always have someone there to hear me and give me advice," Gabriella said of her father. "He always leads me in the right way which has been a huge help in this entire process."
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Furthermore, growing up and seeing and hearing about his success helped to fuel her into forging her own path. While she says the two have different musical styles, she credits the way she sings her songs or her delivery to him after hearing his music her whole life. It also doesn't hurt that all of the times he speaks of his accomplishments to her, Gabriela only gets more inspired to reach them herself. "Those are definitely on my bucket list. It would be cool to be able to mirror some of those accomplishments," she shared. "I feel like I'm on my way now especially with Idol."
Gabriela is certainly on the way to her own career now, considering the big statements she has drawn from the judges. In her audition where she performed OneRepublic's "Let's Hurt Tonight," Katy Perry mentioned that she had Top 10 material, drawing an agreement from Luke Bryan who said he was blown away from the first note. The feedback she has earned throughout the show has only helped to grow as a musician and performer, especially in her stage presence, which was a focal point of her Top 20 performance — Ariana Grande's "Leave Me Lonely" — from her home. Moving on in the competition, Gabriella is hoping to show even more as an artist, hoping to tap into her Hispanic roots and display her ability to win over both the judges and the viewers with her versatility.
Despite admitting being at home now may be an advantage of her, explaining she also has her mother by her side now who saw her perform live for the first time last week during this competition, Gabriela isn't looking at staying away from the big stage too much longer. She has big aspirations and is eager to keep on climbing in the American Idol competition and carry that momentum into the jumpstart of her own music career.
American Idol will air the results of The Top 20 at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday on ABC. Stay locked to PopCulture.com for more on your favorite reality series, along with the latest news in reality TV, entertainment, music and more. For the freshest news, follow @PopCulture on Twitter!