Noah Thompson celebrated two milestones on Monday evening (April 18) when he earned a spot in American Idol’s Top 10 on his 20th Birthday.
Wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, the fan-favorite contestant went on to deliver an impressive performance of “Cover Me Up,” a song that was originally written and recorded by Jason Isbell in 2013 that was later made famous by Morgan Wallen.
“Cover Me Up” is featured on Isbell’s Grammy-award winning album, Southeastern. Wallen first covered the song in 2018, and later recorded it for his record-breaking sophomore project, Dangerous: The Double Album.
The Kentucky native played acoustic guitar throughout his performance and was accompanied by a band. Fellow contestants watched from side stage.
“I’m at a loss for words, I’m just grateful,” Thompson said as he concluded his performance.
The 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.”
Throughout the season, Thompson covered songs such as Cam’s “Burning House” and The SteelDrivers’ “Blue Side Of The Mountain.”
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.”
Thompson also impressed the Idol judges and America with countrified renditions of pop hits such as Noah Cyrus’ “July,” Rihanna’s “Stay,” and Harry Styles’ “Falling.”
The now 20-year-old is a father of a young son named Walker and previously shared how his son and his father inspire him to keep going.
“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.”
“[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.”
While he previously confessed he did not expect to make it this far in the competition but is “grateful” that he did, Thompson hopes to continue on this journey as he thinks it could offer him and his son “a completely different life.”
Thompson’s best friend, Arthur, encouraged him to audition for the show after hearing him sing while working on construction sites.
Following the announcement of the Top 10, the Idol judges will have the opportunity to save four contestants who didn’t make the cut. The remaining 14 contestants will have the opportunity to receive advice from Idol alum Gabby Barrett when American Idol returns on Sunday, April 24.