‘Caught the Country’

Ryleigh Bunch (Courtesy Ryleigh Madison Music)
Ryleigh Bunch (Courtesy Ryleigh Madison Music)

Local girl moving up on American Idol

Ryleigh Madison Bunch had to teach the American Idol judges how to speak “country,” but the local singer is on her way to Hollywood.

Miss Bunch’s audition for the popular television talent show aired Sunday night. Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were visibly shocked when the Columbus County singer sang her rendition of Gabby Barrett’s  “He’s a Good One”.

Her pronounced accent caused all three judges some consternation, but all three appeared to find Miss Bunch’s pronunciation of Whiteville charming. Perry asked her to “dial it back about 25 percent,” but cheered her on.

When Perry joked about having “caught the country,” Miss Bunch didn’t miss a lick.

“It’s good,” Miss Bunch said. “Come on over, girl!”

The catchphrase took off within minutes on Twitter, and shortly after noon today, Miss Bunch announced online that “Caught the Country” T-shirts will soon be available.

The South Solumbus sophomore has been singing since she was three years old, primarily in church and most lately with her uncle, Dustin Chapman, also an Idol alum. Chapman and Miss Bunch frequently sing together in venues across the state. She released her own debut single, Stranger, in November 2020, and has been called one of “the most promising young vocalists in country music.”

Although she auditioned in November, American Idol didn’t officially announce Miss Bunch’s win until Sunday night’s broadcast.  Sunday’s big news was the second milestone of the weekend for her – on Saturday night, she won first runner up in the Miss South Columbus Pageant.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1588 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@ColumbusCountyNews.com.