American Idol Winner Laine Hardy Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Says He's 'Home Recovering'
The winner of ABC’s second season of American Idol, 19, shared his diagnosis on his Facebook page and Instagram Story Sunday, writing, "This wasn't what I expected on the first day of summer. My doctor confirmed I have Coronavirus, but my symptoms are mild and I'm home recovering in quarantine. Y'all stay safe & healthy!"
Since Hardy wasn't able to go out on tour due to the pandemic, he took his shows virtual. Between April and May, he hit more than 15 online stops on his "Ground I Grew Up On" virtual tour, named after his recent single of the same name.
"It's been a lot of fun playing my new music, plus some of my favorite covers like Bill Withers and The Weight and Elvis," Hardy told PEOPLE in April. "We've had tons of people watching the virtual shows and get to answer questions from everyone tuning in from all over the world."
"It's definitely different than being on the road," he added. "It's a great way to connect with my fans. I'm really happy to be able to connect with them in that way. It's really different. I've never done it before. Right when I first started, it was weird. It's getting better and better."
Hardy released both "Ground I Grew Up On" and his single "Let There Be Country" on April 10.
"The minute I heard ‘Ground I Grew Up On’ and ‘Let There Be Country’ I knew I wanted to record both songs," he said. "The lyrics remind me a lot of what it’s like growing up in Louisiana. Me and my cousin Trent, who’s now my drummer, would run around barefoot all the time, ride our ATVs and go fishing on Lake Maurepas. My favorite place to be is on the bayou. I hope when people hear these songs it reminds them of their childhood too."
After winning Idol in 2019, Hardy focused on his songwriting while headlining shows in Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and more. And while Louisiana will always be home for the country singer, Hardy said he’s looking forward to kickstarting his career in Nashville.
"I love coming to Nashville, writing songs and recording with [music producer] Michael Knox," he said. "There's even more new music coming but you're going to have to wait a little while until they're ready. But what I'm most excited about is being able to tour – I got to go out on the road last year and it was great, and I'm just ready to get back out there and play live shows all across the US."
Hardy first competed on Idol a year prior to winning, but he only made it to the top 50. He wasn't planning on auditioning for the show a second time, but he was swayed by judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie to give it another try while accompanying a friend on her audition.
"He got good," Perry, 35, said during his unplanned audition. "What's your problem? Why don’t you want to come back? Take this ticket. You found your confidence!"
Taking that golden ticket to Hollywood turned out to be a huge blessing (and lesson!) to Hardy.
"Just don't give up," said Hardy. "I mean, you just can't give up. You never know what's going to happen. If I didn't take that golden ticket I wouldn't be here right now."
Hardy will next release acoustic versions of "Ground I Grew Up On" and "Let There Be Country" on Friday to "say thanks" to his fans who have shown the singles support, he wrote on Instagram. He's also slated to perform the songs Thursday over livestream during one of the two dates he added to his virtual tour, though it's unclear if his coronavirus diagnosis has changed things.