Luke Bryan and Fellow ‘American Idol’ Judges Praise Noah Thompson and His ‘All-American Boy Next Door’ Charm

Noah Thompson was crowned the Season 20 winner of American Idol on Sunday evening (May 22). Following his big win,…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 23, 2022

Share on:

Luke Bryan, Noah Thompson; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Noah Thompson was crowned the Season 20 winner of American Idol on Sunday evening (May 22). Following his big win, Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie praised the 20-year-old Kentucky native. 

Bryan told People he thinks Thompson won over America’s vote due to his “likability” and his  “all-American boy next door” charm. 

“He just came in as the underdog … the unassuming guy that he didn’t see it coming, America didn’t see it coming,” Bryan told People following the Idol finale. “And I think, you know, we’ve seen it in 20 years where those type people, really — American pulls for them, responds to them. And it always tells me that at the end of the day, being a good, humble, kind person wins.”

Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Noah Thompson, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Noah Thompson, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie; Photo by ABC, American Idol

Richie agreed with Bryan and admitted, “the humble giant wins every time.”

“I can’t tell you how many times he woke up every night and went, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ And I go, ‘You got to start believing, son,’ ” Richie recalled. “Well, tonight, I walked up to him and said, ‘You want to tell me that now?’ But it’s that humble giant that you’re looking for that works every time.”

Noah Thompson won over the judges and viewers from the moment he entered the audition room. His unassuming personality had people rooting for him from day one and Katy Perry said she believed that was the key to his success on the show, on top of his vocal talent, of course. 

“I mean, the growth, he kind of was just like one of those underdogs too, like you know, he kept his head down, but kept on rolling the dice a little bit and pushing himself and singing that RiRi song and just like kind of picking a different way to play it,” Perry told Access. ”He is so humble and he is from Kentucky and you believe him when he talks about his son [Walker] and his son was there falling asleep with the little [noise-canceling headphones] on his ears. I loved it, I loved all of it. I’m just so proud.” 

YouTube video

Thompson appeared to be shocked and left speechless when host Ryan Seacrest announced him as the winner of Idol. After the Idol finale, the newly crowned Idol champ sat down with a group of media representatives (per People), where he revealed that he felt “numb” after hearing the “insane” news that he is the Season 20 champion.

“10 minutes before that, I thought about my journey on this show. How it’s all been. And it’s been stressful,” Thompson humbly shared. ”It’s been a lot of things, I did not expect to make it this far and I just won. So I’m blown away but I’m just trying to take it all in,” he explained.

Noah Thompson, American Idol
Noah Thompson, American Idol

He later took to social media to share his gratitude to those who voted for him and supported him along the way. 

“Had a hard time making this post because I truly couldn’t find the words to say… I was In complete shock in this moment and I still am and I probably always will be! Thank you all for giving me this opportunity, thank you to everyone who voted, thank you guys so much for everything!! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you all so thank you guys so, so much. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey and seeing where this thing goes. Love all of you all.”

Additionally, Thompson made his radio debut during On Air With Ryan Seacrest and first national TV appearance (aside from Idol) on Live With Kelly & Ryan as well as Good Morning America.

Share on:

Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.