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Laine Hardy Wins Season 17 of American Idol

People logo People 20/5/2019 Christina Dugan
a person posing for a picture: Laine Hardy © Provided by TIME Inc. Laine Hardy

Laine Hardy has won Season 17 of American Idol!

During Sunday’s finale, the Louisiana native was crowned the winner of Idol‘s 17th season.

Hardy, who appeared on the 16th season of American Idol, wasn’t planning on auditioning for the show a second time. However, after accompanying a friend to her audition, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie asked if Hardy would be willing to give it another try.

“He got good,” Perry, 34, said during his unplanned audition. “What’s your problem? Why don’t you want to come back? Take this ticket. You found your confidence!”

RELATED: American Idol‘s Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie Sweetly Reveal Their Heroes

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Taking that golden ticket to Hollywood turned out to be a huge blessing to Hardy.

Throughout the season, the 19-year-old heartthrob received praise for his Southern charm and raspy vocals.

Earlier this week, EW confirmed that ABC has renewed the reality singing competition hosted by Ryan Seacrest for a third season. The show has regularly been winning Sunday nights in both viewers and the coveted adult 18-49 demographic.

RELATED: Katy Perry Says It’s ‘Difficult’ Being an American Idol Judge: ‘We’re So Invested’

While the future of the show is sure, that of Seacrest and its judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie — is not. While offers have been made and a source close to the production says the network hopes all of the talent will return, EW has learned there is also no timing regarding an announcement, meaning those negotiations could take a while.

During an intimate listening session with the Top 8 contestants last month, Perry opened up about her duties and why she and fellow judges don’t always feel the need to tell a contestant they disliked their performance.

Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie posing for a photo: Luke Perry, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie | Allen Berezovsky/Getty © Provided by TIME Inc. Luke Perry, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie | Allen Berezovsky/Getty

“We can steer a little bit by our critiques — if we were to say on any given night, ‘Oh, that was a horrible performance,’ I think you would see that in the voting,” Perry, 34, told reporters during the session.

“That’s why we like to be, sometimes, a little vague with our constructive criticism because I think we still have influence a bit. But what we have now for Top 8 is really strong — any one of those kids could be a star,” she said. “So, it’s like, well, we did our work here and it’s up to those kids to make something of it — and it’s up to the American public to vote for it.”

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