WATCH: Colin Stough Earns Praise For Country Rendition Of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Hand In My Pocket’

The 18-year-old once again delivered a standout performance.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 7, 2023


9:54 pm

Share on:

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Colin Stough continued to impress with his Top 8 performance on American Idol

The 18-year-old Armory, Mississippi delivered a countrified cover of Alanis Morissette’s “Hand In My Pocket” and left a lasting impression on viewers and the judges alike. 

Ahead of his performance, Stough reflected on his Idol journey so far

He Couldn’t Believe He Made It This Far In The Competition

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

“Making it this far in the competition is still really hard to believe,” he admitted. “There’s nowhere else I really want to be in life than the Top 8 of American Idol. I was really nervous to sing her song in front of her, I’m either going to fail or fly, you know? I didn’t know how it was going to go.”  

He had the opportunity to sit down with guest judge Alanis Morissette for a mentoring session before he took the stage.  

“To hear it from his sort of soulful tone… it put a whole new life into that song for me,” she told him. 

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

He Was Told To Get ‘More Nasty’

Stough then recalled the feedback he’s received from the judges so far. 

“So originally in my past performances, the judges kind of give me their feedback and I need to make stuff a little bit more nasty,” he explained. 

Morissette then offered a suggestion for his performance. “One way to get there could be just standing up and making it imperfect,” she told him. 

Stough was ready for his moment.  


YouTube video

“Going into this round and this performance I really wanted to go in there and keep the dream alive and keep showing America what I got I reckon,” he promised. 

Strumming an acoustic guitar and donning a cowboy and brown fringe jacket, Stough delivered a country version of “Hand In My Pocket.” He took a risk by making some changes to the arrangement of the song, and it paid off.  

“I did not see that coming. If nasty is this then I love nasty. You also kind of brought the lower inward-looking and then built it up to this big bombastic, beautifulness. So beautiful work!,” Morissette complimented. 

Guest Judges


Ed Sheeran, who also appeared as a guest judge during the show, was equally impressed. He told Stough the performance was “really, really up my alley.” 

“I love how you really rocked it at the end, but also how you gave it a different spin at the beginning because obviously it’s a song that everyone knows and you’re doing it in a way that makes it your own and then rocking out. So, yeah, it was brilliant,” Sheeran concluded. 

Luke Bryan Is A Fan

Bryan said Colin Stough was “just so damn cute” that he didn’t “know what to do.” The country star went on to praise his growth during the competition. 

“That’s the thing about it, you make people smile and you navigating through this competition just smiling your way through… I even asked Alanis… Like, ‘you didn’t need an interpreter with him did you?’ and she was like ‘no, I got most of the words that he was saying,” Bryan said. “But that’s what’s so endearing about you and you’ve just come so far and watching you do what Ed said… You made a lot of dynamics happen in that song and you put your own artistic stamp on it, which was really cool. Great job!”

Ultimately, Colin Stough earned enough votes to secure a spot in the Top 5.

Ed Sheeran and Alanis Morissette are temporarily replacing Katy Perry and Lionel Richie while they are in England performing as part of the Coronation Celebration for King Charles III. 

“I can’t wait to guide you through this stage of the competition and career and yeah this is the first time I’ve done this on American Idol, I can’t wait to take the iconic American Idol stage,” Sheeran previously shared. “Mostly, I’m just looking forward to meeting all of you and talking through life and music and I hope you’re having a great time and I’ll see you very, very soon. Lots of love.”

“I am so excited to be mentoring and hearing your interpretations of my songs. I can’t wait to hear them and surprise I’m going to be guest judging with Luke as well. So I can’t wait to see you,” Morissette previously added.

YouTube video

Perry and Richie made a brief appearance during Idol with a video from Windsor Castle.

American Idol airs every Sunday and Monday at 8/7c via ABC.

Share on:

Lauren Jo Black

Written by

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.