'American Idol' hopeful Gabby Barrett goes all-out Pittsburgher in homecoming
Who says you can't come home?
"American Idol" contestant and Pittsburgh native Gabby Barrett had a whirlwind visit to the 'Burgh on Tuesday — filming a "hometown visit" segment for the show. She flies back to Los Angeles on Wednesday to resume taping.
Barrett, of Munhall, began her day — after arriving from California via a private jet the night prior—with an early morning television interview and visit to her home in Munhall, where throngs of fans awaited her arrival. Surrounded by family and friends Barrett thanked everyone for the continued support and love.
"I'm going to work my tail off to bring back the 'American Idol' title," she told fans.
"Thank you so much Pittsburgh for all the love and support," said Barrett on a Facebook post.
Some fans caught a glimpse of her cruising around the city in a black stretch limo emblazoned with the "American Idol" logo. The police escort made Barrett's detail easy to spot.
"We have watched her from the beginning," said fan Vickie Hickle from New Stanton, who lined up for the parade.
Barrett's day was beyond busy, with visits that included receiving a key to the city from mayor Bill Peduto, a visit to iconic Primanti's restaurant in the Strip District, where a "Gabby Sandwich" was on the menu, a charitable stop at a local Goodwill where Barrett has donated clothing from a previous "Idol" show, throwing out the first pitch at the Pirates baseball game held that evening and a fan parade and concert hosted by Rivers Casino.
"I'm telling you, just from the start, I knew she would be great and for her to be the in the final 3 in "American Idol" that is amazing," said childhood friend Nate Walker of West Mifflin.
Walker and Barrett reunited for an impromptu duet at River Casino in front of fans. Barrett, who got her start singing at age ten in the Lamb of God Choir of Homestead, was surrounded by much of the choir that included Walker.
Dad Blase Barrett exclaimed, "She is here because of all of you!"
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.