Could This Be the Reason Laine Hardy won ‘American Idol’ Over Alejandro Aranda?

Jill O'Rourke | Talent Recap

American Idol fans are still reeling from Sunday’s season finale, during which Laine Hardy was announced as the newest champion of the show. It was a tough fight to the end, and while a lot of fans were rooting for Laine all the way, it’s clear many others were hoping for an Alejandro Aranda victory. But what’s interesting is the fairly decent-sized camp of Alejandro fans who were actually hoping he wouldn’t take home the win.

It’s no secret that the winner of American Idol as well as other talent shows gets some sort of entertainment contract as part of their “prize”. But after years of these shows being on the air, it’s become apparent to more and more viewers that these contracts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and often actually hinder the career of the winner due to their restrictive nature.

Alejandro was a fan-favorite this season for doing his own thing and standing out as an individual. The notion that ABC may have tried to put him in a box and not allow him to have creative control had he won isn’t unfounded, so it makes sense many fans who loved him for his own unique style only wanted him to make it so far on the show for exposure without getting the win.

While Alejandro hasn’t commented on his desire to win or not, several other talent show contestants have voiced their desire to have lost their seasons. Original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson is actually an example of this. (Seriously!) While she’s obviously seen a ton of success in her career since winning the show, she didn’t actually want to win due to being contractually obligated to star in the now-infamous movie From Justin to Kelly.

And, as she once revealed in an interview with Us Weekly, even after she did take home the victory, she still tried to get out of doing it, revealing that she “cried for a solid hour on the phone with the creator of American Idol and pleaded to be let out of the contract that said [she] had to film From Justin to Kelly.”

Of course, these kinds of contracts aren’t limited to American Idol. The Voice Season 11 runner-up Billy Gilman did a radio interview shortly after his win during which he discussed not wanted to be tied down with the Universal Records contract, explaining that he “wanted to have the platform, have the exposure, but still be able to do [his] own thing,” and not wanting to be “owned”.

While it’s unlikely this mindset was the driving factor behind Alejandro’s loss (after all, we can’t discredit Laine’ ability to give the audience what they want, and it’s also worth noting his home state of Louisiana was able to watch the finale live while Alejando’s homeland of California had to wait until the episode was over and the results had already been announced) the notion that opportunities from exposure from being on a reality TV show may be more valuable than actually winning it is becoming more and more common. While Alejandro didn’t walk away as the next American Idol, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to pull an Adam Lambert and go on to have the most successful music career of any contestant from this season.


Julia Delbel
Julia Delbel

Julia is a writer at Talent Recap and hails from the Greater Toronto Area. She is currently pursuing a degree in Media Studies. When not sharing her latest reality TV hot takes she's likely enjoying a game night with friends, collecting enamel pins, or spending time with her cat, Zoey.

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