American Idol has crowned its 17th winner. Country singer Laine Hardy learned of his victory on Sunday night, beating out fellow finalists Alejandro Aranda and Madison VanDenburg.
The teen was in still in shock when he spoke to Entertainment Tonight backstage after the show.
“My mind is so overwhelmed right now with so many different emotions. I really need to let it sink in. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m still processing it but it’s been a crazy night,” he said.
It’s especially mind-boggling when you consider that Laine came very close to not auditioning at all. Laine appeared on last season and felt discouraged after not making it through.
He attended auditions to support a friend, but he didn’t plan to participate himself. When judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry saw him at the auditions, they encouraged him to give it another shot.
“It goes to show you just don’t give up,” Laine said. “Never give up, because you never know what’ll happen.”
A new leg of Laine’s journey is about to begin as he goes on to record an album. Meanwhile, the show’s judges are all hoping to return to Idol next season.
“We’d love to [come back],” Katy said.
“I think we collectively agree that we certainly enjoyed the role and each other,” Luke said. “And we’re having fun with it.”
Of course, longtime host Ryan Seacrest is also planning to return.
“My plan is to be back next year of course. I can’t imagine not doing this show,” he confirmed.
Check out the American Idol finale rundown in the video.
Due to restrictions, this video cannot
be viewed in your region.