Just a few days before Laine Hardy was crowned the official 2019 American Idol on the Sunday night (May 19) finale, he asked his growing social media following where he fits in. A simple question, for sure, but one with a not-so-simple answer. In fact, as of the day after his big win, that tweet has generated hundreds of responses and thousands of retweets. But still, it’s hard to put a label on Hardy.
“What genre do y’all think I am?” Laine Hardy
On one hand, Swampy Bayou Country Rock, if that’s indeed a thing, is what the majority of his followers used to describe his sound. And on the other hand, Hardy seems to have fans who want him to be all things. In other words, no labels, no boxes, no narrow-mindedness.
With Luke Bryan’s support throughout this Idol season — and last Idol season when Hardy had some success but failed to make it into the top ten — there might have been the assumption that Hardy was going to lean a little country.
After all, he drives a pick-up truck, sometimes just to burn gas. He has a deep Southern drawl that’ll make the conversation crawl. He’s hunted alligators. He’s been in a dirt bike accident. But of all the songs he performed on the show, only a few were straight-up country tunes: Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away,” Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” and a duet on Johnny Cash and June Carter’s “Jackson.” It’s unclear whether Hardy was just asking the genre question rhetorically, or if he truly wants to know where he stands with his fans. One thing we know for sure, though, is that America loves their #BayouBoy.