See Inside Colin Stough’s Rise To Stardom: A Look Back At His ‘American Idol’ Journey

Re-live Colin Stough’s incredible American Idol journey.


Andrew Wendowski


Posted on May 21, 2023

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Colin Stough; Photos Courtesy of American Idol

Colin Stough left a lasting impression on American Idol viewers with his down-to-Earth demeanor and impressive vocal skills.

The 18-year-old Mississippi native tried his hand at the show after his mom, Nara, decided to sign him up for the competition.

When he sang Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” in front of Idol judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry, it was clear why she forced her son to pursue American Idol.

“That’s what American Idol is about, right there!” Bryan shouted following his performance as Richie chimed in exclaiming, “I love it!”

“Colin, you’ve got the magic in you… 100% and you got the stardust,” Perry told him. 

“You really do have the stardust,” Richie added. 

Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Earned A Golden Ticket To Hollywood With Epic Lynyrd Skynyrd Cover

Colin Stough earned a “yes” from all three of the judges and got himself a golden ticket to Hollywood. 

For the next round, he performed “Stone” by Whiskey Myers. He also joined forces with Megan Danielle to cover Ed Sheeran’s “Dive.” His solo performance featured a cover of “Cold” by Chris Stapleton.  

When in Hawaii, Stough once again impressed with a performance of “Midnight Train to Memphis” by The SteelDrivers. He advanced to the next round and for his Top 20 performance, he sang “Pretty Heart” by Parker McCollum. 

Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Standout Idol Contestant

In celebration of advancing to the next round, he performed “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn. 

After performances his Top 12 performance of “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band, Stough earned a spot in the Top 10 where he took the stage to perform “It’s Been Awhile.” 

Next up, he had the opportunity to work with guest judge Alanis Morissette. 

“Making it this far in the competition is still really hard to believe,” he admitted to her. “There’s nowhere else I really want to be in life than the Top 8 of American Idol. I was really nervous to sing her song in front of her, I’m either going to fail or fly, you know? I didn’t know how it was going to go.”

Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of ABC/American Idol
Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of ABC/American Idol

Alanis Morissette And Ed Sheeran Mentor

He took the stage to perform Morissette’s iconic “Hand In My Pocket” and earned praise from the judges. 

“I love how you really rocked it at the end, but also how you gave it a different spin at the beginning because obviously it’s a song that everyone knows and you’re doing it in a way that makes it your own and then rocking out. So, yeah, it was brilliant,” guest judge Ed Sheeran told him. 

He teamed up with Megan Danielle to perform an Ed Sheeran song as well. 

During Disney Night, he turned heads by taking a risk with his performance of  Sheryl Crow’s “Real Gone” from Disney’s Cars.  

“We’ve been wanting you to get real comfortable all year and I didn’t realize that a Cars’ song was going to get you that pumped. That’s the most you really let loose, had fun… great song choice,” Luke Bryan told him. “I’m proud of everybody, y’all are growing… all of the contestants are getting better and better every week and man that was maybe my favorite performance that you’ve done. It was great!”

Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Colin Stough; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Additionally, he sang “Nobody Knows” from Pete’s Dragon. This was a smart song choice for the 18-year-old. 

Luke Bryan complimented his ability to hold the attention of the room, while Katy Perry said “you could hear a pin drop” during his performance. 

Debut Single “I Still Talk To Jesus”

Ahead of the Idol finale, Colin Stough released his debut single, “I Still Talk To Jesus.” 

Co-written by Francisco Martin and Hank Compton, “I Still Talk To Jesus” finds the American Idol finalist leaning on his faith in the midst of a breakup. As he faces the intense loneliness in the aftermath of a love gone wrong, Stough turns to his relationship with Jesus to help him navigate this difficult time in his life.   

“I still believe in the things that I make in my head / I still believe every word that you said / I know I’m better off without you / But I hate knowin’ it’s the same for you / I tell myself that I still need it / I just want something to believe in / I still talk to Jesus,” Stough sings on the tune’s chorus.

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Colin Stough will face off against Megan Danielle and Iam Tongi for the title of American Idol champion during the three-hour season finale of American Idol on Sunday, May 21 at 8 pm ET.

Live from Hollywood, the finale will feature performances by the judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, as well as guest performers Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban (who is also mentoring Top 3), Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull, and TLC.

Re-live Colin Stough‘s American Idol journey below.

Colin Stough’s American Idol Audition

“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Hollywood Round

“Stone” by Whiskey Myers

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Duets Round

Countrified rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Dive” with Megan Danielle

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Solo Performance

“Cold” by Chris Stapleton

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Top 26 Hawaii Round

“Midnight Train to Memphis” by The SteelDrivers

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Top 20

“Pretty Heart” by Parker McCollum

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In Celebration

“Dancing on My Own” by Robyn 

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Top 12

“Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band

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Top 10

“It’s Been Awhile” by Staind

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Top 8

“Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette

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Top 5 (Disney Week)

“Real Gone” from Disney’s Cars

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“Nobody Knows from Disney’s Pete’s Dragon

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