American Idol has been a staple of American television since 2002. It was one of the OG talent contest shows and spawned a new era of reality TV.
In the 18 years since the show first aired, it has produced stars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
Amazingly, host Ryan Seacrest has been around for all 18 seasons, even as the contestants, judges, and even network have changed.
The show was revived from cancellation
In 2015, fans thought they were in for the final season of the show. Fox announced in May of that year that the 15th season would be the show’s last and that the series finale would be on April 7, 2016.
Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban had replaced original judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell.
However, two years later, ABC announced that it had acquired the rights and would be reviving the show for a 16th season with new hosts Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.
The revival was successful, and the series was renewed. The 18th season of the show is currently airing on the network
Who won last year?
Last season was the 17th for American Idol. Singer/Songwriter Laine Hardy from Livingston, Louisiana, emerged as the winner. Interestingly, Laine, now 19, was only two years old when the show premiered.
It was actually Laine’s second time auditioning for the show. He previously auditioned for season 16, the first of ABC’s revival, and made it to Hollywood with his rendition of “Hurricane” by Band of Heathens.
Unfortunately, Laine didn’t progress into the live episodes — he only made it to the top 50.
But Laine came back the next year to play guitar for his friend Ashton Gill. Ashton’s audition was successful, but the judges wanted to hear Laine sing before he left.
He wasn’t planning to audition again, but the judges surprised him with a ticket to Hollywood after his impromptu performance. Ultimately, Laine’s decision to help out a friend led to his very unexpected win.
Immediately after his win, Laine released a single, “Flame.” He had previously self-released a 3-song EP, In the Bayou, and another single, Blue Christmas.
Laine is currently doing quite well for himself.
He has over 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, sells fan merchandise, and was scheduled to be on tour from April to September.
There’s no word yet on whether coronavirus will affect the earlier dates of Laine’s tour, but, hopefully, fans will have the chance to see him soon.
American Idol airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.