Sunday night, the 19-year-old from Livingston, La., was named the winner of Season 17.
What changed? Michael Strahan asked that question when Laine Hardy made his first post-show appearance on Good Morning America today.
“Last year, after I got eliminated, I went and played all year,” Laine said.
He also released a fine debut EP. And amassed a social media following of more than 100,000 followers on Facebook and more than 85,000 on Instagram before returning to Idol.
Still, Idol judges had to coax him to audition. He showed up at the Season 17 auditions merely planning to support friend Ashton Gill, a former classmate at French Settlement High School.
Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie immediately noted the improvement in his musicianship and confidence. And then they coaxed him to accept a golden ticket to the Hollywood round as well.
Flash forward to Sunday night, and there Laine was, being named winner by Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
“My mind blacked out,” Laine said of his winning moment. “I don’t even know … when Ryan called my name, I blacked out and I didn’t know what to do. I just forgot everything.”
But, fortunately, not his coronation single, “Flame,” which he immediately performed.
“When the rest of the Top 10 came out (to congratulate him), that helped me out a lot,” Laine added.
Next up for Idol’s new champ: He’s heading home to visit his mom and spend some time with family.
“then I’m going to get straight into working on my music and getting it out to fans,” Laine added.
Here’s his full chat from GMA.