American Idol Recap: Meet The Season 17 Finalists

Get to know your season 17 finalists on American Idol!

Written by Tammy Ragusa
American Idol Recap: Meet The Season 17 Finalists
Alejandro Aranda; Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

Just one month from the crowning a winner for season 17 of ABC’s American Idol, viewers got an opportunity to get to know the Top 8 finalists a bit more.

Following are some of the tidbits we’ve learned about each of the remaining contestants and a list of the songs they have performed since the Top 40 was announced.

Laine Hardy (18) – Livingston, Louisiana
Favorite food: Steak
Last text: Mom
Hidden talent: None
Life hacks: Duct tape, super glue
Laine had previously auditioned for season 16 of American Idol and did make it through to Hollywood, but was eliminated there. He didn’t intend to audition, but was asked to come along to the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho auditions to play guitar for his friend, Ashton. While both received golden tickets to Hollywood, Ashton was eliminated and Laine continued on.
Top 40: “Come Together” – The Beatles
Top 20: “Bring It On Home to Me” – Sam Cooke
All-Star Duets: “The Weight” with Elle King
Live Week One: “That’s All Right” – Elvis Presley
Live Week Two: “Hurricane” – Band of Heathens
Disney: “Oo-De-Lally” from Robin Hood

Madison VanDenburg (17) – Cohoes, New York
Last book you read: The Great Gatsby
What are people obsessed with that you don’t understand: Avocado toast
Secret talent: Backwards alphabet
What comments have you been getting on social media: Wear colors
Madison was compared to Kelly Clarkson during her televised audition and continues to garner that comparison from the judges.
Top 40: “Who’s Lovin’ You” – Smokey Robinson
Top 20: “Domino” – Jessie J
All-Star Duets: “We Belong” with Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo
Live Week One: “Fallin’” – Alicia Keys
Live Week Two: “You and I” – Lady Gaga
Disney: “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

Alejandro Aranda (25) – Pomona, California
Superpower: Fly
Irrational fear: Elevators, crowds, planes, spiders
If you could learn any new instrument: Sitar
Alejandro is pretty serious and super low-key, almost bashful. He calls himself the most boring guy in the world. He likes to eat and play music, doesn’t party or do drugs, and his escape is music.
Top 40: “Yellow” – Coldplay
Top 20: “I Fall Apart” – Post Malone
All-Star Duets: “There Will Be a Light” with Ben Harper
Live Week One: “One Dance” – Drake
Live Week Two: “Cholo Love” – original
Disney: “Remember Me” from Coco

Laci Kaye Booth (23) – Livingston, Texas
Favorite artist: Stevie Nicks
Celebrity crush: Will Ferrell
Hidden talent: thumb trick
Favorite dance move: The mashed potato
Her father was 15 and her mother was 17 when she was born. Her dad went on the road to play music and she started playing when she was 14.
Top 40: “Georgia On My Mind” – Ray Charles
Top 20: “I Want You to Want Me” – Cheap Trick
All-Star Duets: “Mercy” with Brett Young
Live Week One: “I Miss You” – Blink-182
Live Week Two: “As Long As You Follow” – Fleetwood Mac
Disney: “I See the Light” from Tangled

Walker Burroughs (20) – Birmingham, Alabama
Superpower: Teleport
Celebrity crush: Emma Watson
Last person texted: Sister (Milligan)
He has frequently been referred to as Harry Potter because of his youthful look and glasses. Walker attends Nashville’s Belmont University as a music education major.
Top 40: “Youngblood” – 5 Seconds of Summer
Top 20: “How Deep Is Your Love” – the Bee Gees
All-Star Duets: “Have It All” with Jason Mraz
Live Week One: “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music
Live Week Two: “Lovebug” – Jonas Brothers
Disney: “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2

Wade Cota (27) – Phoenix, Arizona
Favorite artist: Scott Weiland
What are people obsessed with that you don’t understand: Baseball
Irrational fear: ???
Judge you’re most scared of: None
During auditions in Los Angeles, his hotel room was haunted. He started his own metal band at the age of 12 after growing up in an abusive household.
Top 40: “Work Song” – Hozier
Top 20: “All I Want” – Kodaline
All-Star Duets: “Broken” with lovelytheband
Live Week One: “Trouble” – Ray LaMontagne
Live Week Two: “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Disney: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story

Alyssa Raghu (16) – Orlando, Florida
Biggest pet peeve: coughing
Life hacks: When microwaving pizza rolls, put the rolls on the edge of the plate
Irrational fear: Having tomatoes thrown at her
Alyssa was a contestant during season 16. She was eliminated in Hollywood. Alyssa is mixed race – Indian and Mexican.
Top 40: “Dear Future Husband” – Meghan Trainor
Top 20: “Ain’t It Fun” – Paramore
All-Star Duets: “Issues” with Julia Michaels
Live Week One: “She Used to Be Mine” – Sara Bareilles
Live Week Two: “The One That Got Away” – Katy Perry
Disney: “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas

Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon (26) – Catonsville, Maryland
Favorite artist: Sufjan Stevens
Irrational fear: Bubbles…not really
Judge you’re most like: Katy Perry
Hidden talent: Can make eyebrows twitch
Jeremiah worked as a janitor at his father’s church and realized he was gay at the age of nine. He came out to his family three years ago. At one point, he wanted to play basketball more than he wanted to be a musician. Jeremiah is also a visual artist and once worked as a fisherman in Alaska.
Top 40: “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac
Top 20: “Make You Feel My Love” – Bob Dylan
All-Star Duets: “Time After Time” with Cynthia Erivo
Live Week One: “We All Fall in Love Sometimes” – Elton John
Live Week Two: “Almost Heaven” – original
Disney: “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon

On the April 28 show, contestants will be performing songs by the band Queen and the Top 8 will be trimmed down to just six finalists.