'This is Game 7,' Gabby Barrett says of 'American Idol' finale
For top 3 "American Idol" finalist Gabby Barrett, tonight's show is win or go home, she said.
"I feel like I'm a player on the Penguins and this is Game 7," said Barrett, 18, from Munhall.
"If you look at the social media, Gabby dominates the social media," said her father, Blase Barrett.
But Team Gabby isn't taking anything for granted, Blase said. Sunday night's show won't produce any contestant eliminations. Those come Monday night, when one finalist will be eliminated in the middle of the broadcast and the new "American Idol" winner will be announced at the end of the show, Blase said.
Fresh off a one-day hometown visit to Pittsburgh last week, where "American Idol" crews filmed a segment featuring Barrett visiting with family and fans, visiting her home in Munhall, singing and throwing out the first pitch during a Pirates game, and capping off her visit with free concert riverside at Rivers Casino, Barrett was overwhelmed by the intense and loyal support from Team Gabby, Blase said.
"It was unreal the amount of love — she never expected that. Rivers Casino told her they never saw a crowd like that. She (Gabby) hopes she can give back the love by bringing home a win to the 'Burgh. This is much more than her now. She's doing it to represent Pittsburgh," Blase said Sunday.
"It's lots of pressure," said Blase, back in California for the show's finale. "She reported to the studio at 6 a.m. this morning and she is constantly practicing, still trying to push past her sickness. She hasn't slept more than three hours each night the last week."
Barrett was hospitalized May 11 in California and diagnosed with a sinus infection, laryngitis and bronchitis, according to Blase.
A quick visit to Pittsburgh was just what Gabby needed, Blase said. "Going home was great—it helped Gabby stay focused."
Between 8 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. Monday, viewers can vote for their preferred contestant (up to 10 times per voting method) via text, the "American Idol" website or the show's free app.
Barrett released her first "American Idol" song, "Rivers Deep," this week, available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. She will perform that song along with two others Sunday night: "Little Red Wagon" by Miranda Lambert and "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.
The two-part finale will air live on Sunday at 8 p.m. and Monday at 9 p.m., with the winner revealed during Monday's two-hour results show.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.