Laine Hardy Returns to Instagram After Arrest With New Song, New Look [Watch]
If fans were scrolling social media last week, there's a good chance they would have skimmed right over Laine Hardy. The American Idol winner is almost unrecognizable as he returns to Instagram after a three-month hiatus, sharing a new song he wrote called "Party I Can Play."
Hardy strums on his guitar in a black ballcap and purple shirt. His hair is shoulder-length, and he's grown a full beard. It's a far cry from the clean-cut, baby-faced look he sported during the Season 17 finale of Idol.
"Been writing some new songs.. let me know what you think 'Party I Can Play,'" he writes in the caption.
"A hole by the roses that the bird dogs dug / Little brother chasing them lightning bugs / Hand-cranked ice cream that Daddy made / I guess you never know the good times while you got ’em / But you sure do miss them when they slip away / I knew then but somehow I’ve forgotten / All I need is a pickup where I can set up / And a party that I can play," he sings in the unreleased song.
Fans showed their support in the comments, with many admitting they missed hearing his voice.
"Glad you're back! We missed You! Missed hearing your voice," one fan wrote, with another remarking, "Good to see you @thelainehardy we all have missed you and yikes you've grown up!"
Another defended his new look with, "Can everyone stop hating on his beard? If you don't like it that's ok but don't comment on it unless it's positive."
Hardy's last Instagram post prior to that was on April 21, shortly before he turned himself over to Louisiana State Police on April 29. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he allegedly planted a listening device in the dorm room of a female student at LSU. According to authorities, the device recorded audio from Nov. 2021 to Feb. 2022.
"Earlier today, I received a warrant due to allegations made against me and have been fully cooperative with the Louisiana State University Police Department," Hardy wrote on social media at the time. "I understand that my career has thrust me into the public spotlight, and I embrace that wholeheartedly as my entire world belongs to my music and my fans."
Hardy was released the same day.
If convicted of Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Electronic, or Oral Communication, the Idol standout could face a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Since winning American Idol, Hardy has released his first full-length album, Here's to Anyone, featuring his single, "Memorize You." He has a few performances scheduled — one in August and one in September.