It's no secret that televised singing competitions like American Idol are a grueling experience for those who compete on them — many of whom are young performers with little to no music industry experience.

In a new interview with his hometown radio station 100.7 in Baton Rouge, La., Laine Hardy — who won Idol's 17th season in 2019 — acknowledges that the trial-by-fire approach to fame and the industry can make for a tough transition, but has another idea about the most difficult part of being on American Idol.

"The worst part — but [also] the best part — would be leaving home. Going somewhere I'm not comfortable with. Stepping out of my comfort zone," explains Hardy, who tried out for Idol for the first time at age 17, and wasn't even 20 yet when he won his season.

During the interview, Hardy also says that the interviews contestants had to do with Idol producers were "brutal," requiring long stretches of time on camera, and that he tried his best to present himself authentically during those conversations.

"You'll sit in there behind the camera talking to the people asking questions, like, for hours in a day. I just said whatever I would say," he recounts. "Most of the times I would just be me the best I could."

Since his time on Idol, Hardy has had to learn quite a bit about the ups and downs of life in the spotlight. In April 2022, the singer was arrested and charged with Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Electronic or Oral communication after an ex-girlfriend accused him of planting a recording device in her college dorm room.

He ultimately avoided jail time for the charges, but around the same time, he announced that he and his record label were parting ways.

According to his most recent social media update, Hardy is looking ahead towards his next musical chapter and finding strength and comfort in relying on his faith. His latest social media post, from June 2023, hinted at new songs on the way; in this week's interview, he confirmed that he's hoping to release new music soon.

Country 'American Idol' Stars Who Disappeared

We cheered for them. We voted for them. We followed them. Then, these seven American Idol stars vanished. Or, at least it seems like it.

What happened to some of country music's best American Idol contestants over the last 20 years? This list of country American Idol stars who disappeared includes a winner, a runner-up and a third place finisher, plus several early cuts who enjoyed radio success before losing touch with fans.

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