Laine Hardy has become a breakout star on the current season of American Idol, but just a few short years ago, he was just another struggling young musician learning his craft in the time-honored way.

In the video above, shot in 2016, Hardy — who was in his mid-teens at the time — performs with his cousins and brother in a band appropriately named the Band Hardy, covering Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" in what appears to be a tiny local venue. Laine's brother, Kyle Hardy, is singing lead on the song in the fan-shot video above, but other videos on the Band Hardy's YouTube channel depict Laine singing various other songs, including a cover of the Cadillac Three's "White Lightning."

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The 18-year-old soulful singer has dominated this season of American Idol with standout performances that include a cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" and Elvis Presley's "That's All Right." He performed Band of Heathens' "Hurricane" on Monday night (April 15), winning his way into the Top 10 finalists.

That performance marked a full-circle moment for Hardy, who first auditioned for American Idol in 2018 by singing "Hurricane." His impressive performance drew praise from all three judges and earned him a Golden Ticket, but he didn't last long on the show in 2018, washing out just a few weeks in. Hardy did not intend to audition in 2019, but when he accompanied a friend on guitar during her audition, he ended up auditioning again at the urging of the judges. His run on the show this year has earned him a huge and loyal fan base that is eager to support him as we head into the final few weeks of the show and crown a new American Idol champion for 2019.

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