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Mississippi’s Stough finishes third...

Mississippi’s Stough finishes third on ‘American Idol’ Season 21

By: Frank Corder - May 21, 2023

Colin Stough (Photo from Stough’s Facebook page)

The Magnolia State now waits to see what’s next for the country singer from Monroe County as he debuts a new single.

When Colin Stough auditioned for American Idol late last year, he and his mother could have only dreamed to have been in the show’s Top 3 finalists. At the time, he was working as a HVAC technician in Monroe County.

It was Stough’s mother, Nara, who signed him up for the talent competition. She has been at the heart of many of his performances on the nationwide show. Stough has often proudly finished his numbers with a shout of, “I love my Momma.”

This week, Stough, from near Amory, returned home from Hollywood as part of the Idol Top 3 to a warm reception. He first appeared at his alma mater, Hatley High School, where students and staff welcomed him home waving signs and cheering for the 18-year-old performer. 

The Monroe County School District proclaimed May 16th as “Colin Stough Day.”

Later in the day, Stough rode in a parade through downtown Amory before taking the stage back at Hatley High for a hometown concert at the football stadium where he once played on Friday nights.

Stough also released his debut song this past week titled, “I Still Talk to Jesus.” The song about a guy’s post-break up struggles was co-written by Francisco Martin VI and Hank Compton, and produced by Chris DeStefano.

On Sunday, the three-hour Season 21 grand finale aired on ABC featuring Stough, Megan Danielle, and Iam Tongi – the American Idol Top 3. 

The season finale included performances by a wide variety of singers across musical genres, such as the Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie as well as guest performers Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban, Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull, and more.

Stough took the stage on Sunday and first performed a song by Urban titled “Stupid Boy.” Urban, a former judge on the show, also served as the guest coach for the week.

“You being you, baby,” Bryan said following the performance.

“Well that was tenderoni pepperoni. It was so sweet,” Perry told Stough.

Stough expressed his appreciation for making it as far as he has, telling Idol host Ryan Seacrest it has been a blessing to be on the show.

The second performance of the night by Stough was Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way.” He opened by saying, “I love you, Momma,” as his mom looked on.

“What I love about you is that you’re so much better than I thought you were,” Bryan said. “Great performance.”

“Congratulations, that’s just a great job,” Richie said simply.

When the over 13 million votes were tallied midway through the show to narrow the competition down to two, Stough was announced as finishing third.

Before the vote, fellow Mississippian Zachariah Smith, also from Monroe County, performed with Cronin of REO Speedwagon. Smith made it into the Top 5.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank:
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