“American Idol”'s Julie Gagnon Earns Standing Ovation with Rendition of Whitney Houston's 'Run to You'

Gagnon performed the 1992 hit during Rock & Roll Hall of Fame night on April 21

Julie Gagnon's latest performance on American Idol just snagged her a standing ovation from all three judges — and Gene Simmons!

On Sunday, April 21, the season 22 finalist graced the stage on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame night with a triumphant cover of Whitney Houston's "I Run to You."

Before she went out on stage, the Maine native chopped it up with mentor Simmons, who called her a "star," which is what she proved to be when she commanded the audience with the 1992 hit.

<p>Disney/Eric McCandless</p> Julie Gagnon performs on American Idol on April 21, 2024

Disney/Eric McCandless

Julie Gagnon performs on American Idol on April 21, 2024

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After a performance full of vocal acrobatics, and after much of the crowd stood up to applaud her, Gagnon earned praise from Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, who compared her to a "butterfly leaving the cocoon."

"Your transformation and the growth from day 1 to present day is just so inspiring to watch and its why this show has been on the air for so long," Bryan, 47, added.

"And you are a perfect example that you can take this experience and have confidence and stand up there for the rest of your life. That was amazing."

Richie, 74, called the performance "absolutely beautiful," adding that Gagnon "commanded that stage tonight." As for Perry, she thanked Simmons for being "passionate" about the performance and cheering on Gagnon at the end.

"Confidence is a mental decision and you decided tonight to switch it on," Perry, 39, told the finalist.

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After the judges shared their thoughts, Gagnon told Ryan Seacrest that she was singing the song for her fiancé back home. And while he was technically back home, Seacrest ended up pulling out his phone on stage, with Gagnon's partner on FaceTime.

The performance proved to be a hit, as Gagnon was revealed to be a finalist moving on to the top 12. "Finally got to live my diva dreams 😭💓," she wrote of the moment on Instagram. "Words fail yet again, America I’m so humbled y’all still want me around and I plan to keep improving as long as you want me here :-)))) #idol #top12."

Also during the episode, Richie and Seacrest announced the list of inductees for the Rock HOF's class of 2024. Those names included Mary J. BligeCherDave Matthews Band, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Kool & the Gang, Ozzy Osbourne and A Tribe Called Quest in the performer category.

The 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Oct. 19 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

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