After American Idol crowned rootsy country singer Laine Hardy as the winner of season 17, the judges–Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan–shared their thoughts on the results backstage at Sunday’s (May 19) finale.
The trio swore they had no idea whether Laine or runner-up, singer/songwriter Alejandro Aranda would win. “We love Laine, we chose Laine we begged Laine to come back,” said Katy to Access Hollywood backstage. “We are so happy that the winner is someone we chose.”
As far as Alejandro is concerned, the panel confessed he and Laine had something key in common. “Laine was thrown off the first show, he decided to comeback for the second show,” said Lionel. “Alejandro–four or five times in the beginning we had to talk him into staying because he wasn’t sure.” Lionel said of needing to talk the singer off the proverbial ledge.
“Every week it was like ‘Oh no, we’re going to lose Alejandro!” confessed Katy.
Indeed, Alejandro told HollywoodLife after the show, that he is “definitely” relieved not to have the pressure of being the winner on his shoulders. “The whole experience was awesome,” he said. “It means everything that I was able to do my own music and have people like it!”
The coaches note that two of the Top 10’s most reluctant contestants became the Top 2. Luke observed, “We nudged the Top 1 and Top 2 right into the Top 1 and the Top 2!”
The judges are so proud of bringing along this year’s crop of young singers. They’d love to do it again next year when Idol returns for a third season on ABC. However, everything depends on if the trio’s salary negotiations are successful. What will it take to get the panel to come back next season Access asked? Lionel was direct, “I’ll give you the best answer,” he said. “A phone call!” Katy yells in response. “Mic drop mic drop!”