When his childhood friend, Ashton Gill, auditioned for American Idol, Laine Hardy came along to play guitar. He left with a golden ticket of his own.

Hardy has been on Idol before, and the judges recognized him and welcomed him back so warmly, that Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie convinced him to sing a song for them, too. The kicker? He actually unknowingly auditioned.

"Laine went from a gator catcher to entrepreneur," Bryan joked, noting his personalized hat.

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Hardy explained that Gill is his best friend's sister — no, they're not dating — so the spotlight was first on her, as it was her audition. She sang Chris Stapleton's "Broken Halos" on the Sunday (March 10) episode, and all three judges agreed that there were a few pitch issues, but put her through with a ticket to Hollywood.

To wrap things up, the judges asked Hardy if he would play and sing them to commercial. Bolder than ever, he started into an impromptu version of the Weight's "Take a Load Off Annie/Fanny."

Perry immediately grabbed a golden ticket, and all three judges tried to entice him to take it.

"It sure is shiny," Hardy remarked. Ultimately, he grabbed it — giving this American Idol thing another shot!

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