American Idol / YouTube
Before he became the winner of American Idol, Laine Hardy competed on Season 1 of the rebooted competition show, but was eventually eliminated.
Both the judges and Hardy felt that he needed some time to work on his confidence before he’d be ready to give performing another go.
While Hardy never lost sight of his musical dreams, he certainly never intended to end up on Idol again. But that all changed when he accompanied a friend to her audition, an the judges ended up asking him to sing as well.
Hardy did as they asked, and the judges were impressed with his refined voice and increased sense of confidence. They offered him a golden ticket to Hollywood, which he accepted, and he quickly climbed through the ranks on the show.
Despite being a country boy born and raised, Hardy doesn’t always sing country music. Instead, he sometimes opts for soulful and rock and roll classics, once wowing viewers with his rendition of a Sam Cooke song.
So when it came time for him to perform a duet with a special celebrity guest, Hardy ditched the country persona even further by singing what is known as one of the most iconic rock songs in history.
That song was “The Weight” by The Band, which was released in 1968. The song has an immense legacy, as it has been covered numerous times and ranked at the 41st spot on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
Hardy was under a lot of pressure to pull the song off, and his nerves were obvious in a pre-performance clip in which he’s seen talking with his celebrity duet partner, Elle King. The 30-year-old singer’s music crosses multiple genres, but country fans know her as the featured artist on Dierks Bentley‘s “Different for Girls.”
King reassured Hardy before their duet, telling him that performing in front of lots of people can be “really scary.” But she encouraged him to just get out of his head and enjoy the performance, because then he’ll seem looser and more confident on stage.
Hardy took King’s advice to heart. He delivered a performance of “The Weight” that will leave you in disbelief that he’s the same person who was once kicked off the show for being too shy.
His vocal performance was also impressive, as he wasn’t afraid to test a raw, gritty tone while growling out the lyrics. This was the perfect style for him to embrace, since King naturally has a gritty tone to her voice.
Together, Hardy and King delivered one of the best duets to ever take place on the Idol stage. They rocked it! Be sure to check out their performance in the video below.
Watching this, it comes as no surprise why so many people voted for Hardy to win. He’s a true star!