Kentucky's 18-year-old Dakota Hayden left everything on the American Idol stage last night, but it wasn't quite enough to move him into the Top 24. Dakota went head to head against fellow country music singer Dan Marshall in a nail-biter finish. Watch them compete here.

Dakota Hayden Music
Dakota Hayden Music

American Idol Season 20 has been a season of ups and downs already. Especially for Trinity High School student Dakota Hayden. I've been lucky enough to talk to Dakota throughout his American Idol journey, and he has learned and grown so much from his experience. I'm just sad that his journey is over. But, technically just beginning! He is only 18 years old, after all. Big things are in store for this small town country boy.

First, let's watch Dakota sing his face off in his Showstopper performance.

His fans took to social media to chime in on his performance.

Angela Pangilinan, "Sad he didn't make it. He has too much potential."

Tasha Kong, "I get chills listening to country songs like this"

Shirley Coleman, "I agree I like his voice and attitude. Hopefully, he will go back next year."

Angela Harris, "You are amazing and will go so so far!!!!! So proud of you!!!"

Now, let's watch the tense sing-off from last night's episode between Dakota and Dan.

Dakota stayed so humble throughout the entire competition so it's no surprise he held his composure at the end of it. When I watched last night, I thought Dakota was going to make it through to the Top 24. Even though they didn't show Dakotas Duets Round from Sunday night, it's been said that he struggled a little. Maybe that helped the judges make their decision, but it can't be because of last night. Dakota was terrific, in my opinion, and should have advanced. Many of you agree with my assessment. Everyone lit up social media with their outrage.

Dylan Nippard, "Dakota got robbed of an amazing opportunity for a 17-year-old country singer. He deserved to stay more than others."

Alanna, "Dakota is so cute !! I hope he continues to follow his dream and develop more growth with his singing. He has the talent for sure!"

Em, "I liked Dakota’s voice more! I hope he doesn’t give up!"

Trent Roper, "Dakota sounds a lot like Parker McCollum. Great voice."

Dakota had this to say after his exit from the show, "I may not have made it to the Top 24 but I've grown in ways I never thought possible! You literally haven't heard the last of me yet!"

This is how Dakota's American Idol journey started. His highly anticipated episode didn't disappoint. He showed such poise and confidence singing Luke Combs When it Rains it Pours. He received positive feedback from Lionel, Katy, and Luke calling Dakota Top 10 Material.

Dakota's Winning Moment

We had the chance to talk to Dakota before his episode aired. He was excited, to say the least!

Everyone wants Dakota to come back next year and audition again for American Idol. I think Dakota should follow his heart and carve out his dreams no matter where it takes him! We'll just be along for the ride. Be sure to follow Dakota Hayden Music to see what he's up to next and where you can catch a performance.

 Upcoming Performances

Henderson Tri-Fest
Henderson Tri-Fest

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022 AT 8 PM – 11 PM
Bar Louie Evansville IN
7700 Eagle Crest Blvd, Evansville, IN 47715

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2022 AT 6 PM – 9 PM
Legends Owensboro Ky
HWY 54 Owensboro KY

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2022 AT 7 PM – 9 PM
FA5 Owensboro KY
Downtown Owensboro Riverfront

CASA of Gibson County
CASA of Gibson County

MONDAY, JULY 4, 2022 AT 12:25 PM
Madisonville 4th Celebration
Madisonville KY

Dakota Drops New Single


Dakota Hayden Wins 2020 "Shine" Singing Competition

Dakota Hayden competed in the 2020 season of "Shine" and WON the competition. A YouTube competition solely based on writing, music, and talent. He sang an original song called “Already Gone,” which was inspired by the loss of his grandfather. It's such a powerful song that continues to inspire many.

Here's the winning "Shine" moment!

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