Can Laine Hardy make a comeback after being arrested for stalking an ex-girlfriend? In April, the American Idol season 19 winner got arrested for bugging his ex-girlfriend’s apartment with a listening device. He was briefly jailed, but then released on bail.
The news broke a few days before an American Idol 20th anniversary special aired on May 3. It was too late for ABC to edit him out of the special, but the network did everything possible to minimize his appearance ,a duet with fellow season 19 alum, Laci Kaye Booth. ABC didn’t upload clips or photos from the appearance.
Since then, the Louisiana native has kept a low profile, until recently. On Sunday (Aug 19) Laine opened for Riley Duckman at the Darke County Fair in Ohio. It was his first live appearance in months. Nevertheless, his tour page is currently empty.
“I guess you never know the good times while you got ’em”
In his first post on social media since April, Laine performed a song he had recently penned. At some point in 2022, Hollywood Records/19 Recordings dropped him from the label–but likely due to poor sales of his debut album, Here’s to Anyone, after the label promoted it heavily in fall 2021.
“Been writing some new songs,” Laine wrote in a July 25 Instagram post. Let me know what you think “Party I Can Play.” The song is about simple pleasures living in the country, including having a “Party I Can Play.”
One key lyric: “I guess you never know the good times while you got ’em/But you sure do miss ’em when they slip away”
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Police arrested Laine after an investigation turned up incriminating audio
Singers make comebacks after trouble with the law. But the crime Laine is accused of is…well it’s creepy. In late April, Louisiana State University police issued a warrant for Laine’s arrest after Laine’s girlfriend at the time found a device under her dorm room bed back in February. She told police the device first appeared to be a phone charger, but she realized it was an audio recorder after looking it up online.
Investigators found several recordings on the device dating back as far as Feb. 10, including some where they could hear Laine’s “very distinguishable” voice. Some of the recordings were taken after the two had broken up in February, according to arrest documents.
The pair dated for about four months, police noted in Hardy’s arrest warrant.
On the device given to police, investigators found audio files containing the victim’s private conversations, including one where she discussed the break-up.
The warrant also suggested that Hardy removed the recorder at some point to check it before planting it back in the victim’s room.
Laine was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for violation of 15:1303– Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Electronic, or Oral Communication.” As of yet, the case has not come to trial.
Laine’s legal issues are still not resolved
The singer likely can’t make a comeback until his legal issues are resolved. But considering that the singer was marketed as a heartthrob, it’s hard to see him as a romantic figure after it turns out he’s a stalker. It’s also hard to make up for lost momentum, especially for a singing show alum that relies on the afterglow of television exposure
Laine initially auditioned for American Idol season 16 in 2018, but the show cut him just before the Top 20. He returned to audition the following season with a friend. He got another ticket to Hollywood and eventually won the show. The singer signed a record deal with Hollywood Records/19 Recordings and released an album Here’s to Anyone in 2021. Before his arrest, he had been on the road touring, and was also a special tourist ambassador for his home state of Louisiana.
Fan favorite single “Memorize You” was featured in multiple episodes of ABC’s The Bachelorette this season and the beachy official video and romantic track has racked up 10.4 million streams and counting. The album also includes “Tiny Town,” “Ground I Grew Up On,” “Let There Be Country” and “Other LA” which tell the stories of Laine’s childhood on the Louisiana bayou.