Louisianas own Laine Hardy named American Idol winner – WWL News, Talk, Sports Radio Station

Louisiana\s own Laine Hardy named American Idol winner - WWL News, Talk, Sports Radio Station

And the winner of American Idol Season 17 is…

After Alejandro Aranda of Pomona performed his original song Out Loud Sunday night, fans at the Fox Theater in his hometown gave him a standing ovation as they watched the 24-year-old perform on the American Idol finale via the venues big screen.

Moments later, the crowd of more than 100 Alejomies moaned as competitor Laine Hardy was named the winner of the reality singing contest.

Laine, who won the real-time vote Sunday by singing Marc Broussards Home and Hank Williamss Jambalaya, definitely wasnt the most risk-taking artist of the top three (that would be runner-up Alejandro, who competed Sunday with two lovely original songs, Millennial Love and Tonight). Nor was Laine the best technical vocalist (that would be third-placer Madison, who belted power ballads by divas Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga and finally had her emotional breakthrough tonight with Shallow). But he was undoubtedly the heartthrob of the bunch, and probably the most marketable. This guys going to sell a lot of records (and a lot of his new merch) and break a lot of hearts. And maybe he will be a superstar, and maybe it will take a lot less time than five years.

Hes still our winner. Hes still our humble genius, said Brigette Martinez, of Rancho Cucamonga, as she walked away after the announcement.

Other finale highlights included totally robbed top six contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon dueting with Katy on a lovely Unconditionally; blind contestant Shayy reprising her Rise Up audition song hand-in-hand with Andra Day while a tearful Lionel looked on; stankfaced top 10 showman Uché spectacularly getting his groove on with Kool & The Gang to Hollywood Swinging; and Stevie Nickss prediction that Alejandro would go on to play with orchestras actually coming true, as he performed his goosebump-raising Hollywood Week original 10 Years accompanied by a woolly-hatted symphony. In the finales most touching moment, a Pomona childrens choir sang Alejandros composition Out Loud and reduced him, and probably everyone watching, to tears.

Martinez who was born and raised in Pomona said the results are bittersweet. I think this is just the beginning, hes shown us what he can do, she said.

If you apply yourself and dont get lazy, youre gonna be one of the biggest stars on this planet, Katy Perry further warned Laine Sunday. She later tweeted saying hed be a superstar in five years — which seemed slightly shady, a backhanded compliment, since Laines two easy-breezy competitive performances Sunday had lacked the impact or ambition of the nights more lavishly praised Alejandro Aranda and Madison Vandenburg. But Katy later more emphatically told Laine, after seeing him cover some Sam Cooke, You are authentic. Youve always been authentic. You werent ready last year. You are ready now.

Even though Aranda didnt take home the title of American Idol Sunday night, fans still showed support for the singer/songwriter throughout the evening, cheering whenever he was mentioned or when he performed during the three-hour-long show. And an hour into the show, when Aranda made it to the top two, some fans ran between aisles, hugging each other and shouting Pomona.

Its an Idol cliché at this point to say a contestant would be better off not winning, but that might really be the case for an indie esoteric eccentric like Alejandro — since, lets face it, no written-by-committee pop songs the Idol powers-that-be would have forced him to record for his Disney debut album wouldve been as cool as last weeks Blesser. The man has already pretty much released a stellar seven-song EP over the course of his Idol season. If Alejandro ends up getting his own record deal — on his own terms — then Season 17 might end up with two winners, for all intents and purposes.

Video: Alejandro Aranda Sings Original Song “Ten Years” – American Idol 2019 Finale

Pomona resident Lorraine Flores was one of the fans in attendance Sunday evening. Carrying a poster, she proclaimed she had the Alejandro epidemic. Flores couldnt get enough of Aranda.

His music is just life-changing, its so soothing, she said. All of us have gone through heartbreaks, hes brave enough to put it out there.

9:10 p.m. – Singing another original song, “Tonight,” Alejandro is at the keyboard this time showing yet again that he’s a musical virtuoso. This is a song that sounds more like a radio-friendly hit than his earlier performance. He’s not comfortable with the attention and it shows, as he still performs mostly with his eyes closed throughout the performance. Whatever he lacks in stage presence he makes up for in emotion. The crowd is going wild and the number of people that showed up at his hometown visit was astounding. Katy says it’s been a pleasure to live in the same lifetime as Alejandro and he makes “American Idol” more than a karaoke show. Lionel and Luke complimented it as a beautiful moment. The judges have clearly chosen their “American Idol,” but will audiences agree?

Katy Perrys Unconditionally duet with Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon is the American Idol finale moment youll be talking about

Alejandro Aranda performs as fans cheer and wave their cell phones as they watch him compete on the “American Idol” finale on the big screen at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Alejandro Aranda fans Lorraine Flores, left, and Stephen Allen both of Pomona, cheer as they watch him sing on the “American Idol” finale on the big screen at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Alejandro Aranda performs as fans cheer and wave their cell phones as they watch him compete on the “American Idol” finale on the big screen at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hardy, who closed the show with his debut single "Flame," is the seventh 11th male finalist to win Idol. The other male winners include Ruben Studdard (season 2), Taylor Hicks (season 5), David Cook (season 7), Kris Allen (season 8), Lee DeWyze (season 9), Scotty McCreery (season 10), Phillip Phillips (season 11), Caleb Johnson (season 13), Nick Fradiani (season 14) and Trent Harmon (season 15). The women who have claimed victory include: Kelly Clarkson (season 1), Fantasia (season 3), Carrie Underwood (season 4), Jordin Sparks (season 6) and Maddie Poppe (season 16). 

Fans lined up more than an hour before the doors opened so they could get good seats to watch Alejandro Aranda compete on the finale of “American Idol” at a watch party at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

It was a tight competition between Pomona, California, dishwasher Aranda, 24, who consistently wowed the judges with his finger-picking guitar style and stunning original compositions sung in a keening falsetto, 18-year-old Livingston, Louisiana, student Hardy, who unexpectedly made it all the way to Sunday after auditioning for a second year in a row, charming the panel with his easy charm and charisma, and bubbly 17-year-old Cohoes, New York, student VanDenburg, who rode her consistency and powerful vocals all the way to the finale stage.

Alejandro Aranda fans watch as the first vote is reviled live during American Idol’s The Grand Finale on the big screen at Pomona Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Virginia Cantrell, 21, of Pomona, cheers as Alejandro Aranda is introduced on the finale of “American Idol,” which the Fox Theater in Pomona broadcast on a big screen on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

In a first, the winner was crowned in front of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie after America voted in real time during the action-packed, 180-minute show, with Hardy having his hand raised in triumph by host Ryan Seacrest, besting Alejandro Aranda and Madison VanDenburg.

Alejandro Aranda fans show their support with a large sign during a watch party for the finale of “American Idol” at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hardys journey on American Idol began last season, when he was cut just before making it to the Top 50. Then during this seasons auditions, he returned to play guitar for a friend, but he returned with his own merch and new teeth, and the judges could barely concentrate on his friend. They even had Hardy play a song right on the spot, and immediately sent him through, despite the fact that he was not auditioning. 

Pomona stores show Alejandro Aranda some love in their windows along 2nd Street before Aranda competed on the finale of “American Idol” on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

The second season of ABCs rebooted singing competition just crowned a winner, and it was Bran Stark! Or perhaps Sansa Stark! Jon Snow? Sorry. Say congrats to the 19 year-old King Laine Hardy of Louisiana, also known as Bayou Boy.

Ingrid Cantrell, of Pomona, watches the big screen in the Fox Theater in Pomona as Alejandro Aranda sings his first song of the night during the finale of “American Idol” on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

The finale started with Hardy, Alejandro Aranda (a favorite since his breathtaking audition), and Madison Vandenburg, also a frontrunner all season. Vandenburg was named second runner up earlier in the finale. 

Video: American Idol season 17 finale results: Did Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy, Madison VanDenburg win?

A young fan votes on his cell phone for Alejandro Aranda as he competes on the finale of “American Idol” on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The Fox Theater in Pomona held a watch party. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

American Idol Season 17 Winner Has Fans All in Their Feelings

Expand More on American Idol American Idol hometown visit brings Alejandro Aranda, and thousands of fans, to Pomona Alejandro Aranda, Pomonas American Idol contestant, already a winner to hometown crowd American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda returns home to Pomona and heres what its like Before Pomonas Alejandro Aranda, these were the American Idol finalists from Southern California Inside view as Alejandro Aranda, American Idol visit Folk Music Center in Claremont Juanita Ruiz, 56, of Ontario, has been watching this season from the start and has been rooting for Aranda even before she realized he was from neighboring Pomona.

Ahead of tonight’s finale, ABC released the following press statement about what to expect, “Following a cross-country search for the next singing sensation, “American Idol” rounds out its second season on ABC with an epic grand finale event, featuring “Idol”‘s Top 3 contestants: Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy, and Madison VanDenburg … Helping to determine who America will ultimately vote to become the next singing sensation are music industry legends and all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie. Emmy Award-winning producer Ryan Seacrest hosts the beloved series, and famed multimedia personality Bobby Bones acts as in-house mentor.”

I was like, Listen to him sing, she recounted. To me hes a genius – he writes and sings his own songs – hes so talented.

Tonight is the 2019 finale for American Idol and there are a ton of performers lined up, in addition to the top 3 finalists. Each of the judges is set to take the stage, cast-offs from the season are performing as well. When it comes to the celebrity music artists making appearances, ABC has reported that they include Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Daddy Yankee, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi, Kane Brown, Kool & the Gang, Montell Jordan, Shayy, and Weezer.

While she typically watches the show with other friends at their home, Ruiz said she came to the Fox Theater Sunday evening to support the Pomona native.

Tonights the night!! Dont miss this ✨EPIC✨ lineup on the #AmericanIdol Grand FINALE! Show and voting are LIVE coast-to-coast — winner announced at the end of the night!! 👑 #IdolFinale 8e|5p on ABC

Hes got this, stated Ruiz, who was sporting a baby blue shirt with an image of Aranda which she said she bought Tuesday during his homecoming visit.

Adam Lambert, who previously appeared on the show this season, is a former contestant as well. He is set to sing his new single, “New Eyes,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” with cast-off Dimitrius Graham.

Video: Alejandro Aranda Sings Original Song “Tonight” – American Idol 2019 Finale

Pomona celebrated Aranda, a 24-year-old dishwasher who qualified for the shows final three, this past Tuesday with a parade on the streets of downtown, followed by a free concert in front of the Fox Theater. The latter event drew an estimated 7,000 people.

The day was condensed into a four-minute segment which showed Aranda returning to Pomona not only for the parade but a sweet moment that brought him to tears.

They kicked it off with "Dirt on My Boots" on elevated platform, with Pardi's acoustic guitar and Hardy's electric guitar. The background set was an appropriate country field, which then turned into a nighttime city skyline when they went into the second song, "Night Shift."

Laine Hardys Family & Girlfriend: 5 Fast Facts

Sitting in the front row of the Fox Theater was Pomona resident Stephen Allen, who said he knew immediately that the local hero could win it all.

They kicked it off with \”Dirt on My Boots\” on elevated platform, with Pardis acoustic guitar and Hardys electric guitar. The background set was an appropriate country field, which then turned into a nighttime city skyline when they went into the second song, \”Night Shift.\”

Even if Aranda doesnt win it all, hes already been exposed to the world, said Allen, adding that some of the best singers on previous seasons, like Jennifer Hudson, didnt win it.

Pardi will be touring this summer with Dierks Bentley supporting his Burning Man Tour alongside Tenille Townes. Earlier in the evening, Hardy delivered covers of "Home" — which Richie dubbed "nasty!" but in a good way — and "Jambalaya."

Hes not just singing, hes bringing people together and thats what makes a superstar, Allen said.

“American Idol” fans are in for a treat on Sunday, May 19 when the Top 10 contestants reunite in the Season 17 finale to sing with each other, the judges and music superstars aplenty. (See Gold Derby’s exclusive song list for the finale.) One performance we’ll all be talking about the next day will be judge Katy Perry‘s duet of her song “Unconditionally” with sixth-place finisher Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. Jeremiah’s jaw-dropping elimination two weeks ago shook “Idol” nation to the bone, especially since Katy, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan opted not to save him. Are you excited to see the 26-year-old former church janitor back on the show? Sound off down in the comments section.

WATCH: Dan + Shay Perform Speechless With Idol Finalist

Sitting in the front row next to Allen was Flores who acknowledged she was now using Facebook, and even joined Instagram, just so she could hear more of Arandas music. Despite having a broken toe and needing a boot to get around, Flores was at Tuesdays parade and among the first in line Sunday.

Louisianas Laine Hardy crowned next American Idol

Chara Swodeck, who lives in the Arts Colony in downtown Pomona, said she has come to the previous watch parties at the Fox Theater and was pleased with Sundays large turnout.

For his Woodstock performance Jeremiah performed “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with a gospel choir and earned a standing ovation from all three judges. Lionel told him that his “vocals are just absolutely amazing,” while Katy said that she thought he was “chosen” and Luke raved about his “professional performance.” Jeremiah then took on “Somewhere” as his Showstopper and once again earned cheers from the panel.

Swodeck had made her own shirt: Alejomies in the style of the logo for the TV show Friends. The phrase, which is used to describe Arandas fans, is a reference to the word homie which Aranda uses.

As for some of the other performances fans can expect see during the Season 17 finale, Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert will belt out “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Dimitrius Graham, Luke will perform “Knockin’ Boots” and “Every Breath You Take” with Laci, and Dan + Shay will take on “All To Myself” and “Speechless” with Madison. See the full song list right here.

Even with the disappointing results, fans believed American Idol was only the beginning for Aranda.

After Hollywood Week started on Idol, in which a featurette video starred her Dad as both her No.1 fan and talent manager, Madison wanted to make sure that her mother also received credit for her success as a singer. On March 24, she posted the following message on her Facebook page: “Tonight, they focused on me and my dad’s relationship and I loved sharing that with the world! But I want to take time here to appreciate my mom as well because I feel like the way things were highlighted, she seemed vacant from my life and that’s not the truth. My mom has been a huge part of my life for my entire life and has supported my music just as much as my dad.”

Valente Valenzuela, of Pomona, is confident Aranda is going to get a record contract and become a top-selling artist.

The backbone of Madison’s support team throughout the competition has been her parents, Skip VanDenburg and Denine O’Conner. While they’re no longer married, her parents are very much united in support of their daughter, who’s been dubbed “the next Kelly Clarkson” during ABC’s reboot of Idol. And like the millions of fans voting for her each week, both Skip and Denine can’t help but admire how much Madison has grown over the course of the competition.

Who Won American Idol 2019? Watch the Winning Performance | American Idol

Valenzuela said he cant wait for Aranda to release an album and would be the first in line to buy it.

While Denine is also taking care of Madison’s younger half-siblings, Colton and Chloe O’Conner, despite her fear of flying, she found a way to make it to Hollywood to see her daughter perform. With a trailer adorned with a sign that read “American Idol Bound: Madison VanDenburg,” Denine packed her bags and made the cross-country trip to Los Angeles, with Colton and Chloe in tow, and will be there for the finale episode on May 19.


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