American Idol Winner Laine Hardy Opens Up About The “Brutal” Realities Of The Show

Hardy discussed his American Idol journey and revealed the worst part of being on the show. He also detailed life after Idol and his newfound fame.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

January 24, 2024


5:24 pm

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Laine Hardy, Photo Courtesy of 100.7 The Tiger Interview on YouTube

American Idol Season 17 winner, Laine Hardy opens up about the “brutal” reality behind life as a contestant on the singing competition show.

Opened Up About His Journey On American Idol

The country singer/songwriter recently sat down with Brittany Rose of Louisiana’s country station, 100.7 The Tiger, to discuss his Idol experience, and in doing so, revealed what he found to be the most difficult parts of the show.

“The interviews, all the getting to know the contestant kind of interviews, those are brutal. You’ll sit in there, behind the camera, talking to the people asking questions for hours in a day,” he shared honestly before adding that even though it may have felt grueling, he did his best to present his most authentic self to viewers.

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Revealed The “Worst Part” Of Being On The Show

He later noted that having to leave home and jump into an unfamiliar environment is another challenging aspect, however, he also understands how getting out of his comfort zone can have some benefits.

“I guess the worst part, but the best part would be leaving home, going somewhere I’m not comfortable with and stepping out of my comfort zone. But the reason I said good thing… is because you got to do that sometimes.”

The 23-year-old from Livingston, Louisiana first competed on American Idol in 2018 but was eliminated from the Top 50.

“The first time I went on, my mom wanted me to go try out. She had seen that I started to sing a little bit, and she’s like, ‘why don’t you try out for me?’ And then I was like, ‘okay.’ So I went the first time only made it about halfway through, and then I went home,” he shared with the radio station.

Laine Hardy; Photo by David Bradley
Laine Hardy; Photo by David Bradley

Crowned Winner Of Idol After Joining The Show For Second Chance

A year later, he returned to the show without an audition number. Instead of attempting to have another chance at the competition, he came before the judges as a guitar player for his friend who was auditioning.

She reached out, and she’s like, ‘Hey, you want to come play the guitar for me while I sing? So I’m not as stressed?’ And I said, ‘sure, why not?’ It’s good to kind of just get back on the show and just get more publicity,” he recalled.

What he didn’t expect was judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry to remember his talent so vividly from the previous season. He instantly exchanged hugs with the judges and reminisced on everything that’s changed since they saw him last. After his friend had received her golden ticket, they gave Hardy the chance to showcase his talent and convinced him to come back as a Season 17 contestant.

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“I didn’t know…that shocked me to death,” he admitted. “The year prior, we kind of built a relationship with the judges and all the producers of the show and stuff. So the next year I came back, it was kind of like a reunion, but they didn’t [forget] who I was.”

Just before he left the room, Perry said, “you could win this one,” and that’s exactly what Hardy did.

How Does Laine Hardy Handle Fame?

Since coming off the show, the “Hurricane” singer/songwriter has experienced plenty of ups and downs while getting adjusted to his newfound fame. When asked how he handles life in the spotlight, he admitted he doesn’t let the fame get to his head.

He said, “I guess it all just depends on how you handle it…what I would say about that is when I first went on television and all the spotlight and attention was kind of coming my way and my phone was blowing up and all that kind of stuff… I’ve always just been taught to be a humble person.”

Laine Hardy, Photo Courtesy of 100.7 The Tiger Interview on YouTube
Laine Hardy, Photo Courtesy of 100.7 The Tiger Interview on YouTube

Revealed That New Music Is On The Way

Following the release of 2021’s debut album, Here’s to Anyone, Hardy has continued to tease a slew of unreleased songs such as “Songs About You,” “That Man,” “Me Meeting You,” “Party I Can Play,” his latest snippet, “Rope Swing,” and more.

Luckily, he revealed that fans can expect to get their hands on two new songs this summer, in addition to a project he currently has in the works that will drop at a later date.

“I finished a final mix of a song called ‘That Man’ that will be released first before this next one called ‘Dancing on the Moon,’ but it’ll be before the middle of summer,” he revealed. He previously gave fans a taste of the upcoming track, “That Man,” during live performances, which can you view below.

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Additionally, Laine Hardy recently performed to the stage at The Texas Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he most recently put his talent on display at The Texas Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 20th. This show also welcomed Season 18 Idol alum, Jovin Webb as the opener.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.