The season 17 runner-up told HollywoodLife.com that he was "definitely" relieved not to have the pressure of being the winner on his shoulders.
"The whole experience was awesome," he said. "It means everything that I was able to do my own music and have people like it!"
He's happy for Hardy, who he says will go far in the music industry if he just "keeps being himself."
"He just has to make tons of music," Aranda said. "And do everything to be the best that he can be."
Aranda performed a number of original songs throughout the season, winning over judges and viewers alike with not just his singing ability, but his talent as a musician as well.
The judges, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, picked up on Aranda's talent immediately upon his audition, and praised him for his unique talents all season long and especially during Sunday's episode. Aranda spoke highly of the judges, who have yet to be confirmed for season 18. "Katy is amazing, Lionel and Luke... they've [built] such a bong and they've only been doing it for a [short] time. To have that kind of chemistry is kind of crazy. So whatever next season brings, I hope they have that chemistry because they're awesome," Aranda said.
All before Hardy was crowned as the winner Sunday night, viewers were treated to several star-studded performances from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Andra Day, Dan + Shay, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, Montell Jordan and Weezer, as well as Idol's own judges.
Richie kicked off the night with a massive performance of "Dancing on the Ceiling" with the Top 10 performers of the season, while Perry paired up with Daddy Yankee to perform a wig-tastic version of their new song, "Con Calma." Perry also sang her hit "Unconditionally" alongside former contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. Bryan took the stage to perform his new single "Knockin' Boots" and later sang "Every Step You Take" with former fan-favorite Laci Kaye Booth.
As for how Hardy's handling his big win, he says it hasn't really set in just yet.
"My mind is so overwhelmed right now with so many different emotions. I really need to let it sink in. It hasn't sunk in yet," Hardy told Entertainment Tonight. "I'm still processing it but it's been a crazy night."0comments
Hardy entered the competition on a whim after accompanying a friend to her audition. With a little persuading from the judges, he gave it another shot and earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood — and the rest is history.
"It goes to show you just don't give up," the 19-year-old said. "Never give up, because you never know what'll happen."