Noah Thompson honored his longtime friend Arthur with a special performance of a Toy Story classic during American Idol’s Disney Night on Sunday evening (May 1).
Ahead of the construction worker’s performance, Thompson opened up about being away from his song and how much he misses him.
“I’ve never been to Disneyland, Disney World, nothing, and I am blown away,” Thompson exclaimed. “I would love to have Walker here. The last time I seen him was about a month ago. It’s been so hard to even go to sleep sometimes I just miss him so bad.”
Fans then had the chance to witness Thompson’s heartwarming reunion with his girlfriend, Angel, and their son, Walker on Main Street USA.
“I was not expecting that,” Thompson said, holding back tears after getting to hold his nearly 1-year-old son for the first time in over a month. “It means the world to me for him to be here. It feels like home almost, there ain’t nothing like it. This is just a little glimpse of what I could do for him. This can completely change everything for him, for me, for my family. I really needed that to be honest.”
It was then revealed that Thompson would be performing “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” a popular tune from Disney’s Toy Story.
“This song to me, would probably be dedicated to Arthur,” Thompson explained of his song choice, referencing his co-worker and longtime friend, who signed him up to audition for Idol.
Prior to his performance, Dancing With The Stars judge Derek Hough shared some advice with Thompson.
“I want you to visualize that you’re singing this song to your buddy Arthur, that’s who you’re singing it to,” Hough told the contestant, who Luke Bryan deemed top contender earlier in the season.
While Hough was offering Thompson advice, Arthur surprised him by shouting, “Hey Noah, you got a friend in me buddy!”
Thompson was all smiles at the sight of his friend.
“What the heck?!” he shouted, before Hough gushed, “one of Noah’s greatest strengths is his personality, it’s just who he is. If he can capture that on stage, it’ll make America feel like we’re just one of his buddies singing along with him as well.”
With visuals of the popular children’s film, Toy Story, filling the background, the 20-year-old Kentucky native performed the sentimental tune.
His performance earned a standing ovation from the live audience and Idol judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
“Noah, I think that was my favorite song you’ve sang, beside the Rihanna song, like you reinvented that,” Perry gushed. “Randy Newman sings it incredibly friendly and it’s such a sing-along song, but you just went for it. You gave it so much character and color and country crooning and it was just some of your best vocals ever.”
“I was really happy, even your vocal choices and some of the movement you did… it was stuff that we had not heard from you yet,” Bryan said. “Which shows me tons of promise in the future for you, I mean, if you can kind of own the fly of putting your little sparkle on that song. The sky is the limit on what you can do throughout your whole career, so, great job!”
“The beauty of Disney is that it’s familiar, it’s family, it’s home, and for you to kind of come out and give us that impression of you, which you are definitely,” Richie added. “It was just perfect, perfect song choice. More importantly, your attitude was wonderful because it was a sing-along moment, but I loved it!”
After earning praise from the Idol judges, Thompson spoke with host Ryan Seacrest about his song’s upcoming 1st birthday, which is just four days away, and joked that they might have to get him a Disney character as a gift.
Noah Thompson ultimately earned a spot in the Top 7 and will advance to the next round in the competition.
American Idol airs every Sunday and Monday at 8/7c on ABC.