Colin Stough left the American Idol competition on a high note. Following his elimination from the Top 3 during the Season 21 finale, the budding country artist left his mark on the stage as he performed a duet alongside Idol judge, Luke Bryan.
Since day one of Stough’s journey on Idol, Bryan has boasted about his incredible potential in the music industry. In a highlight reel that aired ahead of their duet, the “That’s My Kind Of Night” singer can be heard expressing his pride for Stough as he said, “you’re like becoming my little science experiment because I know every emotion going on in your head because I grew up very similar to the way you have.”
Bryan and the aspiring singer share a similar background as they were both raised in small, southern towns with Bryan growing up in Leesburg, GA and Stough hailing from Gattman, Mississippi.
The pair of country singers proceeded to take the stage together to sing a cover of Conway Twitty’s “Slow Hand.” Stough kicked things off as he let his country roots guide the way while sporting his traditional cowboy hat, blue jeans and cowboy boots.
Letting their harmonies dance together, Bryan and the former contestant tapped their toes to the mid-tempo melody as they stood in front of the scenic backdrop that featured a glowing mountainside.
“You want a man with a slow hand / You want a lover with an easy touch / You want somebody who will spend some time / Not come and go in a heated rush / Baby, believe me I understand / When it comes to love you want a slow hand,” they sang in the chorus.
The performance ended with a fist bump and a standing ovation from his fellow Idol contestants who returned in support of the milestone night.
Prior to joining Stough on stage, Bryan showcased his brand-new release, “But I Got A Beer In My Hand.” The upbeat song got the audience on their feet and dancing as the country star kept the energy high and a bright smile on his face.
Stough came into the American Idol family after his mother, Nara, forced him to audition by signing him up to chase his dreams. As he revealed prior to stepping in front of the judges in the audition room, his dad was not a part of his life and his mom raised him on her own.
“My dad really ain’t never been there. He chose alcohol and drugs instead of me and mom,” Colin Stough shared honestly. ”Man, that would just kill a family you know, and this is where we had to go. It wasn’t, nowhere else, this was it. I used to have a real bad problem about just holding on to everything and that’s what horses teach me, just to let go of it. It’s kind of like you can talk to ’em, but you don’t say nothing and neither do they. It’s a way to cope.”
He also shared his hope to inspire those in his town before showcasing his vocal abilities with a performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”
Colin Stough made it far in the competition. His talent guided him all the way to the end of the show, where he was eliminated during the finale.
American Idol Finale
Live from Hollywood, the three-hour Season 21 finale of American Idol also featured performances from the Idol judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, as well as the top 3 finalists: Megan Danielle, Colin Stough, and Iam Tongi.
Additionally, Ellie Goulding, Jelly Roll, Pitbull, TLC, Lil Jon, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson and Lauren Daigle also performed throughout the broadcast.
American Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken also returned to the show.
Keith Urban Returned To Idol
Country superstar Keith Urban, who served as an American Idol judge during seasons 12 to 15, was on hand to mentor to the top 3.
“To be able to come in as a mentor, and play as well, is incredible,” he told PEOPLE. “That was home for me for several seasons, and the mentoring part is probably one of the things I always enjoyed the most, getting to work with the artist one-on-one.”
During the show, several other fan-favorite contestants returned to the American Idol stage, including Haven Madison, Olive Steele, Wé Ani, Zachariah Smith, Warren Peay, and more.
Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the American Idol season 21 finale aired on Sunday, May 21 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT.