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American Idol 2022: Reliving every Noah Thompson performance

Noah Thompson on American Idol
Noah Thompson on American Idol. Pic credit: ABC

Noah Thompson shocked the world when he won American Idol’s 20th anniversary season.

The small-town country singer whose best friend signed him up because he didn’t think he was talented enough tore through the competition and finished as the champion.

With the big win, Noah performed a lot of different songs, and it wasn’t all country music.

Here is a look back at Noah Thompson’s American Idol journey.

The Auditions Round

Noah Thompson came into the auditions and was clearly uncomfortable. He let the judges know that he didn’t know if he belonged there and said that he didn’t even sign himself up. However, the construction worker had people who believed in him.

His best friend signed him up and came to the audition with him as support. The judges told Noah to just relax and sing for them and that is what he did.

Noah sang the song Giving You Up by Kameron Marlowe, while also playing the guitar. Luke Bryan asked him to sing the chorus again, but with more “intention.” Lionel Richie said he had a “real-life, storytelling, bada** voice” and Katy Perry said, “you are the American dream.”

He got three yes votes and moved on through.

Hollywood Week – Genre Challenge/Duets

Noah went on to Hollywood Week, which had two rounds. The first round was the Genre Challenge. As expected, Noah was in the country group.

Lauren Alaina served as the mentor.

This led Noah to the stage to sing the Cam song, Burning House, which was the same song that Mike Parker sang. However, Noah’s version was not shown on TV.

After this, it was time for the judges to put together the duet teams. He ended up partnered with Oliva Faye and they nicknamed their group Kentucky Idol. They practiced for hours to sing Lean on Me, but then switched the song up and sang July by Noah Cyrus.

It wasn’t the best, but both got to stay in to sing one more song.

Showstopper Round

The first song for a live audience was the choice of the singers. Noah Thompson chose to sing a Rihanna song called Stay. It was a strange choice since he had identified himself as a country singer, but there is a video online of Noah singing the song for his girlfriend.

He impressed the judges. It was Luke Bryan who announced that Noah had moved on to the Top 24.

Top 24

The Top 24 was the first time that the fans at home got to vote. The Top 24 split into two groups, with the first 12 singing on Sunday night and the second 12 on Monday night. Noah was in Group 2.

He came out and sang The Steeldrivers’ Blue Side of the Mountain. Katy said he lacked an “oh wow” moment and Luke said he was “getting there.” However, Lionel said he has a “storyteller voice” and he ended up winning enough votes to move on.

Top 20

The Top 20 was a huge night for the American Idol contestants, a three-hour episode with the singers pulling out all the stops.

Noah Thompson moved away from the country genre again, and this time he sang a song by Harry Styles called Falling. However, he sang it with a country twang and completely reimagined it. Lionel told Noah he had made it. Luke said he thought that Noah would “aw shucks” his way to the top.

Breakout Hits/Judge’s Song Contest

For Breakout Hits, Noah sang Stand by Me by Ben E. King. This was a change because he was going to sing a Chris Stapleton song, but the song he sang meant much more to him. Lionel loved it and Katy said it felt authentic.

Up next was the Judge’s Song Contest, which was a fun competition. Each judge chose a song for the singers and they chose the one they wanted to sing without knowing who chose it. The winning judge who had the most songs chosen got to save someone who the fans didn’t vote in.

Noah had some country songs to choose from, including Country Road by John Denver. However, he went outside the box and chose Heartbreak Warfare by John Mayer (a song he was unfamiliar with). While he was worried about the reaction, it was a great performance and Lionel said that Noah was really defining himself.

Disney Night

Disney Night was Top 10 week, and it was time for three people to go home. Derek Hough was the mentor, and he focused most on the stage presence and how they carried themselves in their performance.

Noah Thompson chose to sing the song You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story. He dedicated it to his buddy who signed him up for the competition and stood by him through it all. It was also a good choice since he has the weakest voice in the Top 10 and it didn’t take much work to win over the viewers.

TikTok/Mother’s Day

American Idol audiences got a huge shock when COVID-19 hit the show. Noah Thompson was one of two singers who couldn’t show up to perform live. However, he did perform live with two songs this week from his hotel room.

The first was a TikTok viral song, and Noah chose to sing Painted Blue by Sunday Best. He said that he actually posted himself singing it on TikTok last year.

The second song for the night was one dedicated to his grandmother since this was the Mother’s Day episode and she is who raised him. Noah chose to go with Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. Lionel loved the song, noting the gravel in Noah’s voice – likely caused by his illness.

Carrie Underwood/Contestant’s Choice

Noah Thompson came into the Top 5 and had two performances to put on for the fans. First, there was a Carrie Underwood song. Second, he got to choose his own second song as he fought for a spot in the finale.

Noah was at a disadvantage because it took him longer to get a negative COVID-19 test than it took Fritz Hager, so he had to work with Carrie virtually. He ended up choosing her song, So Small. Lionel said he was an authentic storyteller and Luke wanted him to interact more with the audience.

As for his Contestant’s Song, he chose Working Man by Larry Fleet. Katy said he aced the test and Luke said he was working the room. Lionel pleaded with people to vote for Noah, and they did.


Noah Thompson had some great performances in the finale. It all started with the Bruce Springsteen cover of I’m on Fire. This caused Luke to say how far he had come and how humble he remained.

Noah then sang his debut single, One Day Tonight, and while it wasn’t a song he wrote, he made it his own. Katy told him not to stop dreaming.

He then came out for his third song, which was another delivery of Stay by Rihanna – which he sang in the Showstopper round. Katy and Luke said he had grown so much, and Lionel said, “That’s It.”

That is also what the fans said when they voted Noah Thompson the 20th American Idol winner.

American Idol is on hiatus. The singing competition series will return in 2023 to ABC.

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