The milestone 20th season of American Idol is filled with promising artists, including Noah Thompson, who became an instant fan-favorite following his memorable Idol audition.
The now 20-year-old Kentucky native and former construction worker auditioned for the show with Kameron Marlowe’s “Giving You Up,” which earned recognition from Marlowe and praise from Lionel Richie.
“You got a real-life, story-telling, badass voice,” Richie told him at the time. “It’s believable. I don’t know what you were expecting… I know you weren’t expecting that. That’s why I said it.”
Katy Perry once called Thompson “the American Dream,” while Luke Bryan later declared Thompson “might win the whole competition” after he praised the “magic quality” he has “going on in [his] voice.”
Later in the season, Thompson revealed that his father influenced him to play guitar and pursue a career in music.
“As a child, I was just always around music, my dad gave me his guitar. Dad showed me the simplest of chords and I kind of just took off,” Thompson recalled. “My dad really wanted to be in music, that was his dream also. Kind of the whole point of me being here, for my dad. I wanted to do it almost for the both of us.”
He hopes his success on Idol will create a special bond with his 9-month-son, Walker, who he shares with his longtime girlfriend Angel Dixon.
“[My dad] believes me in obviously, but I never believed in myself, so for me to have made it this far it’s definitely a confidence booster. I want this to be something that me and [my son] Walker could do together too,” he added. “I think he’s going to have a voice on him probably, he’s got a hell of a yelling voice, that’s for sure.”
After his co-worker and friend, Arthur, signed him up to audition for Idol, Thompson admitted that he never thought he’d make it as far as he has in the competition and now strives for the title in hopes to offer his son “a completely different life.”
“Just a few months ago, I could never imagine pursuing something like this, If it weren’t for Arthur, I wouldn’t have ever signed up for this show. I would’ve never had the confidence. It’s pretty cool to know somebody believes in you more than you believe in yourself,” Thompson said.
“I have a little boy, he just turned 7 months. I recently became a Dad, my little boy, he’s my strive for all this,” Thompson added. “Blows my mind that I’m even here, this could give me the opportunity to give my son an entire new life, a better life.”
Thompson has also impressed the Idol judges and America with countrified renditions of pop hits such as Noah Cyrus’ “July,” Rihanna’s “Stay,” Harry Styles’ “Falling,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and John Mayer’s “Heartbreak Warfare.”
The standout Idol contestant credits Chris Stapleton, Kameron Marlowe, John Mayer and Neil Young as musical influences.
“I grew up listening to more rock than anything but eventually started loving country music. I just love storytelling music,” Thompson shared.
Throughout the season, Thompson also delivered covers of Carrie Underwood, Fleetwood Mac, Sundy Best, Larry Fleet, Bruce Springsteen, and more before being crowned the winner of American Idol on Sunday, May 22. After being crowned the American Idol, Thompson performed his debut single, “One Day Tonight.”
Re-live Noah Thompson’s American Idol journey below.