‘American Idol’ Star Engaged at 19: ‘Hearts Breaking Everywhere’


Heavy Couple displays an engagement ring

One year after placing third on season 21 of “American Idol,” 19-year-old Colin Stough has not only gone from being an HVAC repairman to one of country music’s rising stars, but he’s also now engaged to be married.

On June 15, 2024, Stough revealed via social media that he’d proposed to his girlfriend of nearly a year, former beauty queen and fellow Mississippi native McKenzie Rhett, 20. Friends and fans flooded his post, including one who declared, “Little girls’ hearts breaking everywhere!”

“Only God knew that a pretty little angel would end up with a tatted up cowpoke,” Stough captioned his post, which featured a carousel of eight engagement photos. “I love you and this life with you and I can’t wait for the miles and the memories we will have to my best friend and my life partner. Let’s get married ❤️✌️”

Colin Stough & McKenzie Rhett Went Instagram Official in September 2023

Colin Stough

BBR Music/David Bradley“American Idol” season 21 finalist and rising country star Colin Stough

Rhett, who was crowned Miss Jr. Teen Mississippi in 2019, also shared photos from their engagement day on social media, including a view of her dazzling engagement ring, and expressed her excitement over Stough’s proposal.

She wrote, “i love you colin stough! 🤍 -my best friend and lover for life let’s get married”

The professional photos they posted included many candid outdoor shots — which Rhett geotagged as being taken in Columbus, Mississippi — including her looking stunned and thrilled as they stood in front of a large gold hoop with their initials hanging from it.

Rhett has posted periodic Instagram snapshots from life on the road with Stough since September 10, when she shared photos of them together in Louisa, Kentucky. Stough was there to perform at Septemberfest, just before 2022 “Idol” winner Noah Thompson — a native of Louisa — took the stage.

Rhett posted two photos of herself cozying up to Stough offstage that day, including one in which he was kissing her cheek and another with her hand on his chest.

She captioned her post, “been to a concert or two lately ❤️🤘🏽”

Stough first shared a photo with Rhett on Facebook in November, at the Grand Ole Opry. By mid-January, he was open with fans about being in a relationship during an Instagram Live, repeatedly referring to Rhett as his girlfriend and calling her “Kenzie” for short.

‘American Idol’ Fans & Friends Celebrate Colin Stough’s Engagement

Stough, who is set to release a new EP — “Lookin’ For Home” — on July 12, received lots of comments from lots of fans after he shared his good news, as well as words of congratulations from others with “Idol” connections.

Noah Cyrus, who was a guest mentor in Hawaii during season 21, wrote, “woooooo!!!!!!!🤍🤍”

Jack Blocker, who took third place in season 22, commented, “Cmonnnnn”

Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson chimed in, “Congrats brother !!”

Stough’s fellow season 22 contestant Rebecca Brunner wrote, “I LOVE YALL SM … congrats friends!!!!!!”

After placing third on “American Idol” in May 2023, Stough hit the ground running, moving to Nashville and singing with the show’s record label partner, 19 Recordings. The label released his latest single, “Sober,” in May.

Stough is on tour throughout the summer, including playing jam-packed shows at CMA Fest on June 8, and hitting the road with friend and country star Chase Matthew.