Laine Hardy Recalls the Nerve-Wracking Moment Before Being Crowned Winner of 'American Idol'

Laine Hardy won the 17th season of American Idol on Sunday night

Laine Hardy is still in shock that he was crowned the winner for ABC’s second season of American Idol.

After Sunday’s three-hour finale, the Louisiana native opened up to reporters about the nerve-racking moment leading up to the big reveal.

“My mind went totally blank,” Hardy, 19, said of the moment host Ryan Seacrest announced his name. “Right when he said it I couldn’t believe it. It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe it. My mind is going in 5,000 different directions.”

American Idol Finale
Ryan Seacrest and Laine Hardy. ABC/Eric McCandless

“I feel crazy,” he added. “My mind is overwhelmed.”

Hardy, who also appeared on the 16th season of American Idol in the spring of 2018, wasn’t planning on auditioning for the show a second time. However, after accompanying a friend to her audition, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie asked if Hardy would be willing to give it another try.

“He got good,” Perry, 34, 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.”

American Idol Finale
Laine Hardy with the cast. ABC/Eric McCandless

Runner-up Alejandro Aranda expressed his gratitude as well.

“The whole experience was awesome,” he told reporters after the show. “The fact that I could play my own songs and they liked it, that means the world to me.”


With the show being renewed for a third season, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie opened up about what it would take for them to reprise their roles.

“What would it take? The same thing we did this year,” Richie, 69, told reporters. “We got the three greatest personalities ever on this show. When I started with this group I was a bit worried. I kept telling America to pray for me, but now that I know everybody and their characters, I would not do another show without them!”

Bryan, 42, was quick to agree. “You know, we’ve had an amazing two years. It feels like this year we came in and had a clearer vision and developed our identity and our role,” he said. “We want to keep that going. We’re proud of what people at home are watching. I mean, I know Lionel and Katy are getting it when we walk down the street when somebody comes up and says, ‘We love the way you’re treating these kids on American Idol.’ It truly feels really great!”

“It feels good that we’re really getting to know each other,” Perry, 34, added.

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