Laine Hardy

Laine Hardy performs during the Top 5 episode of American Idol on Sunday, May 12. Hardy advanced to the Top 3, which will perform during the finale set to air May 19.

The Hardy Party is going to the finale.

But first, it’s coming back home.

American Idol contestant and Livingston Parish native Laine Hardy was one of three singers who survived the final cut on the nationally-televised singing competition, securing himself a spot in the finale after performing three songs during Sunday night’s episode.

And for advancing to the final stage of the competition, Hardy will return to Louisiana for a superstar homecoming that’ll include a pep rally, a parade and a concert — not to mention what promises to be thousands of screaming fans.

Hardy, a 2018 French Settlement High graduate, couldn’t contain his excitement when host Ryan Seacrest called his name first. Neither could his dedicated fan base on social media, which immediately shot out post after post to celebrate the moment.

In the May 19 finale, Hardy will be joined by Madison Vandenburg of New York and Alejandro Aranda of California. Wade Cota of Arizona and Laci Kay Boothe of Texas were both eliminated at the conclusion of Sunday’s episode.

During the Top 5 episode, each contestant performed three songs: a pick from in-house mentor, Bobby Bones; a song dedicated to their heroes in honor of Mother’s Day; and a selection from the Elton John catalog.

For his trio of selections, Hardy sang “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band, “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John, and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. Hardy dedicated his hero song to his older brother, Kyle.

Hardy even showed a different side of his artistry during Sunday's episode, at one point ditching his guitar when he sang the Elton John ballad — something he hadn't done in any of his American Idol performances thus far.

The ploy must've worked, as America — and especially his home state — decided it wanted more of the Hardy Party. 

The Laine Hardy frenzy swept across the state in the last week, with ordinary citizens and elected officials alike voicing their support for the hometown star.

A group of family members, friends and other fans filled up Crazy Dave’s in Livingston for a viewing party, two days after state Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, presented Hardy’s parents with a Resolution of Commendation from the House of Representatives.

Schools have posted “Geaux Laine” and “Vote for Laine” on their marquees in the last two weeks, and Gov. John Bel Edwards sent off multiple tweets Sunday afternoon encouraging people to vote for one of Louisiana’s own.

But now, the party’s just getting started.

Hardy’s homecoming on Tuesday, May 14, promises to be a wild day in Livingston Parish, with thousands expected to take part in the action.

A parade has been in the works for at least the last week, and on Friday, Town of Livingston Mayor David McCreary said Livingston Police Chief Randy Dufrene and Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard were working together to coordinate Hardy’s visit, which includes a parade along Hwy. 190 and a concert at the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds.

More details about Tuesday will be revealed at a later time, though Hardy is scheduled to visit Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards sometime during the day. 

It'll be quite the hero's welcome for Hardy, but when Seacrest asked him what he planned on doing if he advanced, his answer was short and sweet — in typical Laine Hardy fashion. 

"I'm gonna go on the river, sing with my nieces and play with my dogs," he said.

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