Nashville resident Grace Leer earned praise from the American Idol judges for her performance of Faith Hill's "Cry" as a Top 20 Season 18 contestant hoping to land a Top 10 spot, but she's taking a critique given by judge and country superstar Luke Bryan to heart going forward.

Judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry were effusive with their remarks toward Leer after her Sunday night (April 26) performance, which was shot at her family's home in California, where she's quarantining during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Bryan was, too, but noted that while Leer brought swagger and style during the back half of her song, she got off to a slow start.

"I really appreciated it," Leer says of Bryan's advice during a media conference call after Sunday night's American Idol episode. "I really love to learn and grow from any feedback I can get from the judges, so to hear that he really just wanted a little more in the beginning of the song, I'm definitely gonna take that advice."

Leer grew up listening to '90s and '00s country music and says Faith Hill is "someone I look up to a lot, as an artist, as a singer and a person." The Idol contestant's musical tastes are vast, but she's committed to representing the country genre during her time on the TV singing competition.

"I know I'm one of the only country artists in this Top 20, and it means a lot to represent country music, especially female country music, along with Nashville," 28-year-old Leer reflects. "Nashville is very much a home to me, so it's an honor to represent Nashville and country music."

American Idol will cut its contestants from 20 to 10 on Sunday night (May 3), during another episode put together from home. Both contestants and judges, along with host Ryan Seacrest and the rest of the show's crew, are working remotely during the pandemic.

See the Top 20 Finalists on American Idol, Season 18:

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