Sunday night’s American Idol premiere gave a lot of focus to last year’s contestant Alejandro Aranda. In fact, the show gushed about him so much that you might assume he was the winner.
The only problem is that he wasn’t the winner. Alejandro was runner-up to Laine Hardy, whom the show only mentioned in passing. Is Idol ignoring Laine like they previously ignored Maddie Poppe?
‘American Idol’ Is All About Alejandro
American Idol mentioned Laine’s win at the very start of the premiere, adding that he has a “career that’s taken off.” They left it at that, not giving any more details about his journey on the show or what he’s doing now.
Instead, the show aired a much longer tribute to Alejandro Aranda. It included clips from his Idol performances, sound bites from the judges praising him, and a recap of Alejandro’s post-show success.
As Ryan Seacrest said in the narration, Alejandro’s impact on the new season is “a game changer.” Luke Byran said he’s introduced a new “level of talent,” while Katy Perry said he brought “gravitas” to the show.
The show’s YouTube page even titled the segment “Who Will Be The Next Alejandro Aranda?” So apparently even the show is acknowledging that winners aren’t necessarily the most successful.
What About Winner Laine Hardy?
In case American Idol forgot, Laine Hardy was the actual winner of Season 17. The fans took notice of the show’s focus on Alejandro. One Twitter user posted that Idol was treating Alejandro “like the winner.” Another suggested that they were throwing Laine under the bus.
One commenter on YouTube wrote, “It’s no longer ‘Who’s the next American Idol?’, it’s now ‘Who’s the next Alejandro Aranda?'” They added, “poor Laine.”
The show at least invited Laine to perform at the premiere event earlier this month. The American Idol account tweeted pictures of Laine performing on his guitar and fist-bumping mentor Bobby Bones. However, we have to wonder if Laine will be invited to perform on the show this season.
‘American Idol’ Ignored Maddie Poppe Too
This isn’t the first time American Idol has failed to support one of its winners. Season 16 winner Maddie Poppe got into a bit of a feud with the show last year over just this type of treatment.
Not only did the show not invite Maddie to perform in the Season 17 finale, but they failed to promote her new music. After a social media outcry, Ryan Seacrest spoke to Maddie during the finale about her new single.
To make things even more awkward, the show did invite finalist Gabby Barrett to perform her own single during Season 17. Considering Laine Hardy hasn’t announced any new music since his win, the chances of him performing this season over Alejandro aren’t looking good.