Could Louisiana be home to the second "American Idol" in a row?

Viewers will find out starting at 7 p.m. Sunday when the ABC singing competition series returns for its 18th season.

The current "American Idol," Livingston's Laine Hardy, has been writing songs, touring and jetting home when possible since winning the "Idol" title in May 2019. Hardy popped in at ABC's "American Idol" premiere event Wednesday at The Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles. He caught up with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and in-house mentor Bobby Bones, and also gave a surprise performance.

Flash back to last season's "Idol" auditions, when Hardy accompanied friend Ashton Gill to her tryout, only to end up auditioning himself and getting that golden ticket to the Hollywood Week phase of the contest, just as he had done the previous season. That year, he was eliminated during that Hollywood session, but last season, of course, was happily a different story.

During the first few episodes of the new season, when audition highlights air, look for Jovin Webb, of Gonzales, and Destrehan's Faith Becnel.

Viewers first heard and saw Webb in a commercial airing during ABC's Oscars coverage on Sunday. In tribute to the film "Almost Famous," several "Idol" hopefuls are seen riding a bus, eventually breaking into song with Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." To see commercial, click here.

Webb is lead singer in local bands Captain Green and Bayou Bullets, who'll both be playing the Varsity Theatre in the next couple weeks. Captain Green takes the stage Friday, Feb. 21, for its 10-year anniversary show, while Bayou Bullets plays Saturday, Feb. 29.

An "Idol" watch party for Becnel is planned for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at Table & Tap in Metairie. Also, check her out at the pre-Endymion Samedi Gras concert on Saturday, Feb. 21, in New Orleans and on Friday, Feb. 28, at Pier 90 Bar & Marina in Luling.


Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.