LOS ANGELES (WAFB) - Laine Hardy is the next American Idol.
Sunday night, the 18-year-old Livingston Parish native was crowned winner of American Idol season 17. Throughout the season Hardy performed the following songs:
- “Come Together” by The Beatles
- “Bring It On Home” by Sonny Boy Williamson
- “The Weight” by The Band
- “That’s Alright Mama by Elvis Presley
- “Hurricane” by Band of Heathens
- “Oo-De-Lally” from “Robin Hood”
- “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen
- “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles
- “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
- “Home” by Marc Broussard
- “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” by Hank Williams
All over Livingston Parish people are cheering for Hardy.
"It’s unbelievable to see how far he’s come. He’s confident but he’s so humble and that’s more important,” said Travis Hood, a lifelong family friend.
Hood joined dozens of others for a watch party at Livingston Park to show support for Hardy during the finale.
“The attention he’s brought to Livingston and all that, it means everything to us. It’s not everyday exciting things happen in Livingston Parish. It’s so exciting to see and so exciting to watch,” said Hood. “I’m proud of the boy. I’m proud of his family. Laine Hardy is letting everybody know that Livingston Parish is here and that’s a big thing."
For many, seeing the small town face dominate such a big stage is still surreal.
“It’s a familiar face that you see around town, so when you see him on TV you’re just kind of like oh my gosh. We know him,” said Shantel Mccreary, who helped organize the watch party. Mccreary says it’s hard not to be excited when you live in a town where nearly everyone knows each other.
“I ran into his parents last night at Walmart and decided to go up to them," said Mccreary. "My daughter was like don’t go mom...I went up there and they were just so sweet and humble.”
Mccreary, like many others, says Laine will be the talk of the town for a while. Even had he not won the competition, the community is happy Laine brought a taste of the south to so many across the country.
This season was not Hardy’s first time on the show. In 2018, he made it to the top 50 before he was voted off. Hardy returned during season 17 to support his friend by playing guitar. During that audition the judges encouraged Hardy to perform solo, beginning his climb to the number one spot.
Before the finale, Hardy returned home to French Settlement, Louisiana where he was welcomed by family and fans. View the stories below for a full recap:
- Livingston Parish overrun with fans for Laine Hardy parade, concert
- Laine Hardy returns to alma mater, French Settlement High, for special pep rally
- Laine Hardy meets with Gov. Edwards Tuesday ahead of ‘American Idol’ finale; parade planned in his honor
- Hometown Hero: Laine Hardy makes it to top 3 on American Idol
- Livingston’s Laine Hardy one step closer to becoming next ‘American Idol’; advances to top 5
Hardy is the first winner from Louisiana.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.