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The Good Ones: Gabby Barrett reunites with ‘American Idol’ judges tonight, as she hopes her “very special” song wins big at the CMAs

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Gus Black

Thanks to hits like “I Hope” and “The Good Ones,” Gabby Barrett‘s the most successful artist from American Idol since it moved to ABC. Tonight, she’ll reunite with her former Idol judges on the CMA Awards, where “The Good Ones” — inspired by Gabby’s husband, fellow Idol finalist Cade Foehner — is up for multiple awards.

“It’s a very special song to me,” Gabby says.  “It was ever since I wrote it. And ‘special’ is a great word, even though I’ve said it a lot. It’s a very sentimental song…and I’ll be glad to see it win anything, if possible.”

Gabby notes that it’s a “360-degree moment” to be nominated during a year that American Idol judge Luke Bryan is hosting the CMAs, and fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie are presenting.  Gabby recalls how, after her third-place finish on Idol in 2018, Luke had her back.

“He’s always been very kind to me, even after the show,” she tells ABC Audio. “When he came to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh right after I had gotten off Idol, he brought me on the stage there and I got to sing in front of a stadium of people…so that was amazing.”

But Gabby’s quick to note that the success she’s experienced since then has all been down to what she calls her “hard work and perseverance.”

“It was not easy for me coming off the show because nobody wanted anything to do with me…it was very difficult for me,” she says of her post-Idol career. “I just had me and, thankfully, my wonderful management.”

“You just got to work hard and persevere,” she advises. “And eventually, one of them doors are going to open for you!”

The CMA Awards air at 8 p.m.ET tonight on ABC.

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