Can you “believe” it? Ex-Journey singer Steve Perry makes surprise appearance on American Idol finale

ABC/Eric McCandlessThe first installment of the two-night American Idol finale aired Sunday on ABC, and in addition to a trio of performances from the top three contestants, the show featured a surprise appearance by former Journey singer Steve Perry.

Perry was on hand to watch one of the three finalists, pop-country singer Gabby Barrett, perform a version of the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin’.” After Barrett finished her performance, the camera turned to show Perry standing in the audience clapping. Gabby reacted by declaring, “Steve Perry! Oh my gosh, I love you so much! What an honor!”

Judge Katy Perry then said, “I cannot believe that Steve Perry of Journey is watching you sing ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.’ I feel like he should be the one to give the critique.”

“She was amazing, that’s my critique,” Steve responded, then welcomed Barrett with open arms for a big hug.

Host Ryan Seacrest then asked the Journey legend, “What did you think? What did you feel? What did you see, Steve?”

Perry gushed, “It was the most amazing version I’ve ever heard. I swear. It was beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you so much.”

Barrett then told Perry, “It’s an honor to sing it in front of you. It truly is.”

Gabby will find out tonight whether she, Caleb Lee Hutchinson or Maddie Poppe will be crowned the latest American Idol winner. The second part of the finale airs at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and will feature a variety of guest performances and duets. Judge Lionel Richie and soul/R&B great Patti LaBelle is among the many stars who will take the stage during the show.

The first installment of the two-night American Idol finale aired Sunday on ABC, and in addition to a trio of performances from the top three contestants, the show featured a surprise appearance by former Journey singer Steve Perry.

Perry was on hand to watch one of the three finalists, pop-country singer Gabby Barrett, perform a version of the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin’.” After Barrett finished her performance, the camera turned to show Perry standing in the audience clapping. Gabby reacted by declaring, “Steve Perry! Oh my gosh, I love you so much! What an honor!”

Judge Katy Perry then said, “I cannot believe that Steve Perry of Journey is watching you sing ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.’ I feel like he should be the one to give the critique.”

“She was amazing, that’s my critique,” Steve responded, then welcomed Barrett with open arms for a big hug.

Host Ryan Seacrest then asked the Journey legend, “What did you think? What did you feel? What did you see, Steve?”

Perry gushed, “It was the most amazing version I’ve ever heard. I swear. It was beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you so much.”

Barrett then told Perry, “It’s an honor to sing it in front of you. It truly is.”

Gabby will find out tonight whether she, Caleb Lee Hutchinson or Maddie Poppe will be crowned the latest American Idol winner. The second part of the finale airs at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and will feature a variety of guest performances and duets. Judge Lionel Richie and soul/R&B great Patti LaBelle is among the many stars who will take the stage during the show.

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