Colin Stough’s ‘American Idol’ Journey Comes To An End

Where did Colin Stough land in the ‘American Idol’ competition?


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 21, 2023


9:00 pm

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Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy ABC, American Idol

Colin Stough’s American Idol journey came to an end on Sunday (May 21) after he covered Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” during the season 21 finale of American Idol.

Stough, who is a longtime fan of Keith Urban, was thrilled to learn that Urban was a guest mentor. 

“By far my favorite mentor we’ve had… This is someone who I grew up to listening to his music.” he excitedly shared. 

A Keith Urban Cover

Keith Urban, Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Keith Urban, Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Stough took the stage with his electric guitar in hand. Wearing a cowboy hat, a white western-style shirt and a brown vest, the Mississippi native owned the stage as he sang, “She laid her heart and soul right in your hands/ And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans/ She never even knew she had a choice/ And that’s what happens when the only voice she hears is telling her she can’t/ Stupid boy/ Stupid boy, oh.”

Following Colin Stough’s performance, Luke Bryan took a moment to reflect on Stough’s Idol journey. 

“Colin, you being you baby, you being you, it’s been a pleasure just seeing how you’ve navigated this competition and how you’ve grown. You’ve developed into your artistic look and your style,” he told him. “You got moments where you look gritty and you’ve got moment where you tender it up and sing softer and sing louder. So man, you’ve just come so far from the kid that walked in at auditions and kudos to you buddy, kudos.”


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Lionel Richie also praised Stough’s growth. 

“I remember when you first came in and you went through the first half of the competition, you said ‘who me?’ and I’m saying ‘yes, you’ and then as time goes on… Now, you’ve got a little attitude about yourself and you’re singing love songs and the girls are screaming. All I want you to know is enjoy the ride, we are very proud of you,” he shared. 

Katy Perry referenced Stough’s role as a former HVAC repair main when it was her turn to speak.  

“Well that was tenderoni pepperoni… it was so sweet Colin,” she said. “I think when we met you, you were doing HVAC, you know making sure, keeping it cool and stuff… I feel like when you were here with us in the very beginning you were at like 10% and now I think you’re at like 60-70%. You hear when you give them a twirl how they react… When you hit 100% out in the real world, watch out buddy it’s gonna be hot and you’re going to need your own air conditioning.”

Colin Stough later returned to the stage to perform a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way.”


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“What I love about you is you are so much better than I originally thought you were,” Luke Bryan admitted. “The reason that made me go that way is your ability to that with you and your guitar. When you can do that, you’ve got it kicked in the rear buddy. You’ve got it. Just love seeing you grow buddy, congratulations, great performance.” 

“I loved what you just gave us. I think that is your sweet spot when you can just bring everybody in and sing to them like they’re the only people in the room. You just play like you play and then you just give them that grit like you know how to do it,” Katy Perry said. 

The fast-rising country singer’s fate was revealed in the midst, when host Ryan Seacrest announced the Top 2 as Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle.

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Colin Stough auditioned for American Idol with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”  

After his audition, Colin Stough went on to sing songs such as “Cold” by Chris Stapleton, “Midnight Train To Memphis” by The SteelDrivers, “Pretty Heart” by Parker McCollum, “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn, “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers, “It’s Been While” by Staind, “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette and more.

His debut single, “I Still Talk To Jesus,” is out now.

Live from Hollywood, the three-hour Season 21 finale of American Idol also featured performances from the Idol judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, as well as the top 3 finalists: Megan Danielle, Colin Stough, and Iam Tongi. 

Additionally, Ellie Goulding, Jelly Roll, Pitbull, TLC, Lil Jon, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson and Lauren Daigle also performed throughout the broadcast. 

American Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken also returned to the show. 

Keith Urban Was A Guest Mentor

Keith Urban; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Country superstar Keith Urban, who served as an American Idol judge during seasons 12 to 15, was on hand to mentor the top 3.  

“To be able to come in as a mentor, and play as well, is incredible,” he told PEOPLE. “That was home for me for several seasons, and the mentoring part is probably one of the things I always enjoyed the most, getting to work with the artist one-on-one.”

During the show, several other fan-favorite contestants returned to the American Idol stage, including Haven Madison, Olive Steele, Wé Ani, Zachariah Smith, Warren Peay, and more. 

Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the American Idol season 21 finale aired on Sunday, May 21 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.