Home Music therapy Country singer HunterGirl, who has ties to Winchester, Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee, learns her fate on Sunday from ‘American Idol’

Country singer HunterGirl, who has ties to Winchester, Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee, learns her fate on Sunday from ‘American Idol’


‘American Idol’ picked its 3 finalists last Sunday, and country singer HunterGirl made the cut, meaning a camera crew was in Winchester, Tennessee, last week filming her ‘hometown visit’ for the final show. Viewers can expect scenes from his alma mater, Franklin County High School, a parade in his honor in the town square and a concert at Twin Creeks Marina and Resort.

This Sunday, she and her fellow contestants — Leah Marlene of Normal, Illinois, and Noah Thompson of Louisa, Kentucky — will deliver their final performances for a chance to win a recording contract with Disney-owned Hollywood Records.

Here are five things to know about HunterGirl as she finds out her fate on the ABC show’s 20th anniversary season.

* About this name: His real name is Hunter Wolkonowski. Her stage name, HunterGirl, began as a way to identify her among boys named Hunter at school, according to an interview with her uncle, Grundy County General Sessions Judge William R. “Trey” Anderson. III, published on tncourts.gov. People started calling her Hunter the Girl, which her maternal grandfather eventually shortened to HunterGirl, Anderson said.

To agree

– “American Idol” airs its 20th season finale at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday on ABC.

– South Jackson Civic Center, 404 S. Jackson St., Tullahoma, Tenn., will host a big-screen watch party. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. CDT.

* Brief biography: She is 23 years old. His parents are Chris and Urla Wolkonowski. She has a younger sister, Rylan. She was born in Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee, and her family moved to Winchester when she was 11 years old. She received her college degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

* Musical journey: On her website, HunterGirl says she started singing in her grandfather’s church at age 3 and writing songs at age 9. At age 15, she won the 2014 Texaco Country Showdown. After graduating from high school, she moved to Nashville and started playing gigs at Tootsie’s, Rippy’s, Crazy Town, Jason Aldean’s Bar, The Listening Room and Honky Tonk Central, among other downtown locations. While in college, she won several songwriting competitions, including Nash Next and the National Songwriters Association International two years in a row. She has opened for bands such as Old Dominion, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans and Chattanooga native Kane Brown.

* Favorite causes: She channels some of her songwriting energy into Freedom Sings USA and Operation Song, music therapy organizations that pair songwriters with veterans to turn veterans’ stories of military service into songs. She was also involved with the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veteran Center and Soldier’s Child. Her involvement with Freedom Sings brought her to Chattanooga to work with area veterans.

* “Idol” time: She received praise from the judges throughout the competition, even winning one of three “platinum tickets” that allowed her to skip a first round of competition in Hollywood.

However, she is not the favorite to win. According to a fan poll on MJ’s Big Blog, which tracks reality TV, “Idol” diehards think Marlene should win but expect Thompson to win.

— Compiled by editor Lisa Denton