Monday, August 8, 2022

‘Idol’ winner Laine Hardy resurfaces with a new song & look 3 months after her arrest

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After a three-month absence from social media, “American Idol” season 17 winner Laine Hardy returned to Instagram and Facebook on July 25 with a thoughtful new song and a lot more facial hair than fans are used to . The country singer disappeared after his last public appearance, a pre-taped duet with former “Idol” colleague Laci Kaye Booth, which aired during the show’s May 2 reunion episode.

When this special aired, Hardy made headlines for another reason: On April 29, he was arrested by police at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for allegedly bugging his ex-girlfriend’s dorm room. According to USA Today, he was committed to East Baton Rouge Parish Jail for “intercepting and disclosing wireless, electronic, or oral communications,” a crime carrying a maximum fine of $10,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

Local news station WAFB9 reported that Hardy was able to leave prison without posting bail. Her legal analyst, attorney Franz Borghardt, told the broadcaster it was unlikely Hardy would serve a sentence if this was his first such offence.

Billboard Magazine reported that Hardy’s appearance on the reunion show American Idol was taped in early April, weeks before his arrest. After the warrant was released, he released a statement on social media, which has since been deleted, to let fans know he was “fully cooperating with the authorities.” He hadn’t posted anything since then until his new video upload.

In a new video posted to Instagram and Facebook, Hardy, 21, appears to be sitting at home with an acoustic guitar and playing a new two-minute song “Party I Can Play.” While the pacing is upbeat, the lyrics are particularly poignant given the singer’s recent challenges.

“I guess you never know the good times while you’ve got them,” Hardy sings in the chorus, “but you sure miss them when they slip away.” I knew it then, but somehow I forgot that all I need is a cartridge to build on and a party to play at.”

In the video’s caption, Hardy didn’t mention his recent legal troubles or his return to social media. He simply wrote, “I’ve written some new songs…let me know what you think of ‘Party I Can Play’.”

The vast majority of fans welcomed the country music singer back with open arms, praising the new song and encouraging him to keep his head up. “Nice that you’re back! We missed you! I missed hearing your voice,” wrote one fan. However, they were less than thrilled with the singer’s new look.

Despite their love for the singer and his new tune, many fans made it clear in their comments on social media that they don’t like Hardy’s full beard and longer locks. During the American Idol reunion special, judge Katy Perry pretended to faint over the singer’s more mature looks, with long hair and facial scratches replacing the clean-shaven look he wore throughout the competition.

“I got killed when you came on stage, Laine,” she told him excitedly.

But his dark hair and beard have grown longer and fuller in the months since, and Hardy’s fans don’t seem impressed. Just six hours after Hardy uploaded the video, hundreds had already commented on his look.

One Facebook follower wrote: “That beard must be goooooo… I dread that beard!!!”

Another commented: “The song is good get rid of the beard it hides your beauty. Yes, I said BEAUTY!”

“Love the song,” one fan wrote, but then added, “I’ll be glad if men stop wearing all that long facial hair, cut that hair too, Elvis look is best for you.”

Hardy’s return to social media comes as he prepares for his first concert dates in a while, beginning July 29 at the Pike County Fair in Bowling Green, Missouri. According to his website, he has four upcoming concerts planned for this summer.

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