PHOTOS: ‘American Idol’s’ Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi, Oliver Steele, And More Reunite At All-Star Nashville Showcase

Steele penned a heartfelt message about the reunion and compared seeing his fellow Idol alums to “family.”


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 20, 2023

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Jon Wayne Hatfield, Haven Madison, Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi, Oliver Steele; Photo via Instagram

American Idol standouts Jon Wayne Hatfield, Haven Madison, Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Oliver Steele, and winner, Iam Tongi, recently reunited in Nashville. 

The Idol alumni gathered at The Valentine, a multi-level bar and music venue, located on Lower Broadway in the heart of Music City, for “19 Takeover,” during the week of CMA Fest. 

The Season 21 contestants were also joined by Season 20 champion, Noah Thompson, HunterGirl (Season 20), Fritz Hager (Season 20), and Grace Leer (Season 18). 

Several of the Idol alums performed at the event and others came by to hang out with the friends they made on the show. 

Steele, who resides just outside of Nashville in Mt. Juliet, documented the reunion on social media where he shared several photos and a heartfelt message.

“Truth be told, I’ve been having a bit of a rough time since the end of the show. Whether it’s been getting sick, watching family pass away suddenly, or feeling stuck, I haven’t felt the same,” Steele admitted. “There’s been a constant feeling of something missing. I thought maybe I felt stuck, like things weren’t happening fast enough for me, despite trying to remind myself to be patient. But after the incredible show at @thevalentinenashville last night, I realized something.”

Steele went on to share that he realized that “nothing has felt the same, because nothing IS the same.” 

He compared the bonds he made with his fellow contestants to family and lifted his friends up as he reflected on the life-changing American Idol experience. 

“These incredible artists that make up a crazy little family, this group of people who all went through the same shared experience? They’ve taken flight. We all knew that the experience of being on the show would come to an end. I guess I didn’t account for making so many incredible friends and forging such strong bonds,” Steele continued. “We went from seeing each other every single day, to now hardly seeing one another at all! But that’s okay. My new family is soaring high and reaching new heights all of us never dreamed of. And I shed tears of joy last night watching them shine on stage, getting to tell them how good it was to see them, and just laughing together like old times.”

The Top 10 contestant closed his post with a sweet revelation about the show. 

“Going on @americanidol means more than just competing,” he said. “It’s more than a trophy or a record deal. It’s finding family you never thought you’d have. Forging memories that will last a lifetime.”  

Thompson, Tongi, HunterGirl, Danielle, Stough, Madison, Hager, and Leer performed during the “19 Takeover” event. 

Season 21 winner, Iam Tongi, runner-up Megan Danielle, and third-place finalist, Colin Stough are fresh off the memorable American Idol finale, which took place on May 21, 2023. The finalists released their debut singles during their time on the show.

Tongi turned heads with the emotional “I’ll Be Seeing You,” Danielle inspired listeners with “Dream Girl,” and Stough tugged at heartstrings with “I Still Talk To Jesus.” 

Meanwhile, Thompson, who was crowned the winner of American Idol Season 20, released his debut EP, Middle Of God Knows Where, on June 9. Season 20 runner-up, HunterGirl, is currently riding on the success of her latest release, “Lonely Outta You.”  

Leer, a Top 11 contestant from Season 18, recently released her new single, “My Mind’s Made Up.”      

ABC recently revealed that American Idol will return for another season, however, the network has yet to confirm if Bryan, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Ryan Seacrest will come back for another season.

It appears Luke Bryan is open to the idea of returning to the judges’ panel.

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest, Luke Bryan; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest, Luke Bryan; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

“My future with Idol [will continue] as long as the show is growing and popping, and we feel like we’re doing beautiful work as a show,” Bryan recently told Taste of Country and other outlets.

The “Born With A Beer In My Hand” singer added, “We felt like this year was what we had all worked together to get to. As long as the vibe feels like we’re moving onward and upward — and we’re getting emotionally moved, we’re telling the stories of kids and the American spirit, and it’s a show that kids [and] parents can cry and laugh together and have fun [watching] — it’s gonna be a tough show for me and Lionel and Katy to walk away from.”

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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.