‘American Idol': Noah Thompson Brings Carrie Underwood to Tears Before ‘So Small’ Performance [Watch]
Noah Thompson may be recovering from COVID-19, but that didn’t stop him from making it into the Top 3 on Season 20 of American Idol. The country crooner from Louisa, Ky. — who is competing to help give his son, Walker, a better life — advanced into the grand finale after singing two songs as part of the season’s Top 5 performance episode, which aired live coast-to-coast on Sunday (May 15).
He first took the stage with a rendition of Carrie Underwood’s "So Small" — a performance he dedicated to his baby boy and his longtime girlfriend, Angel Nicole.
Thompson was in good hands going into his performance. He received some guidance from Underwood, who mentored the finalists from Las Vegas, home of her Reflection residency at the Resorts World Theatre. But his meeting with Underwood took place virtually, as he was still unable to fly out to Vegas on the same day as the other contestants.
Despite that, Underwood — a Checotah, Okla., native who won Season 4 of American Idol — couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion over her online meeting with Thompson, as she felt she could relate to his backstory of growing up in a rural town with a small population.
"I feel like this show was created for people like me and for people like Noah, who didn’t know how to dream that big but knew that they wanted to do something. So, it’s a beautiful thing,” Underwood said through tears. “I look back and think that’s the decision that changed my entire life. I have no idea where I would be, and to see contestants get every opportunity they have ever wanted is just magical.”
Even Thompson’s small-town charm seemed to connect with judges.
With nothing but his vocals, the former construction worker, dressed in a casual shirt and jeans, showed off his undeniable raw talent over the microphone.
“You know what Noah? It fascinates me. What makes you so appealing is that you’re real, you’re actually a real person,” Lionel Richie shared after the hopeful's performance. “You have the ability to tell stories. You can tell stories. You’re believable. But more importantly, I want you to understand something. There’s a point in your life, and it happens to all of us, we sit there and we go, ‘Wow. Is this really happening to me? Noah, this is really happening to you.”
“I don’t know what you found between those two ferns for a whole week, but it was good,” Perry added, referring to Thompson's week of isolation in a hotel room, where he was recovering from his illness. “I have never seen you move from that stage to this stage. Listen. You've got another opportunity to do that tonight. Keep doing it. It’s working in your favor. People are obsessed with you. They want to touch you. Reach out and touch them.”
Later in the show, Thompson followed up his “So Small” performance with a powerful rendition of “Working Man” by country artist Larry Fleet. Performing the tune behind an acoustic guitar, he had the audience melting in his hands as he showed off his ability to tell a story through simple lyrics and a stripped-down take.
“Noah, you just aced that test,” Perry gushed of the performance.
“You on a guitar with a stool, it was enough to hold any room in any world that you’re in,” Bryan added.
Fans can find out if Thompson will take the crown when American Idol returns with its Season 20 grand finale on Sunday, May 22, on ABC.
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