Kentucky construction worker Noah Thompson has wowed American Idol viewers throughout the entire season and Sunday evening’s performance was no different.
The 20-year-old father of one was excited about the opportunity to meet American Idol alum Gabby Barrett, who returned to the show to offer the Top 14 contestants advice.
“It’s cool to think she’s still chasing her dream while being a parent, I definitely look up to that,” Thompson admitted after talking with Barrett about parenthood and being away from their children while pursuing their respective musical careers.
Thompson revealed plans to sing Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame,” but was thrown for a loop when Barrett challenged him to select a new song.
“I don’t think there’s a good connection, you need to go back to the drawing board and maybe pick a different song,” Barrett told Thompson.
She continued to encourage him to find a song that he can emotionally connect to. “Noah has got to figure out a new song and I’m hoping that he pulls out something you can tell he can feel and connects to the song.”
The Kentucky native admitted changing his song was was a bit nerve-wracking.
“I’m the only contestant switching my song at this point, it’s kind of scary,” Thompson said.
“Whatever song you pick, just nail it and we’ll be rooting for you,” Barrett promised.
Upon entering the stage, it was revealed that Thompson chose Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” a song that he connects with as his co-workers forced him to sing on the job site.
Following his performance, Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan gushed over Thompson’s vocal abilities.
“You know Noah, Gabby gave you a gift by changing that song because you actually felt that song,” Lionel Richie said. “You were in it and I know that you were trying to figure out your navigation, but your voice fit that song perfectly. If I could just get you to lean in. The part that I like the most, here you’ve got to understand, there are going to be moments where you are starting to select your own songs. Pick songs that you feel, feeling is everything in this business.”
“Noah, listen, no matter if you’re singing a Rihanna song or ‘Stand By Me,’ it’s always that Kentucky, country kid, authentic sound and tone to your voice. So, I can always tell that it’s you Noah, which is fantastic,” Perry gushed. ”You’re staying true to yourself, but you’re also like branching out a little bit. I’ve spent a little time in Kentucky these past few weeks and I got to tell you, you are a big star there. My housekeeper, Michelle, is voting for you.”
“Let me relieve you of a little of anxiety the rest of your life,” Luke Bryan added. “The deal is man, your voice is just so real and unique to you. No matter what you go with as a song for the rest of your life, your delivery’s going to be real, It’s going to be authentic. It’s going to be all the stuff that you were born and raised coming through you and you’re going to be sounding that way. Get up there and just sing like you sing and it’s always going to work out for you.”
Noah Thompson’s performance ultimately secured him a place in the Top 11. American Idol returns on Monday, April 25 at 8/7c on ABC.