‘American Idol': Noah Thompson Shines on John Mayer Cover [Watch]
Noah Thompson is a country artist, but he has been known to sing songs outside of his genre. During the latest episode of Season 20 of American Idol, he did just that.
As part of the night’s theme, which was ‘The Judges' Song Contest,’ he got the opportunity of selecting one of three songs by two artists – John Mayer’s “Bigger Than My Body” and “Heartbreak Warfare” or John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
The former construction worker and father to toddler son Walker chose to perform the latter of those three, telling viewers that the tune was the only one he knew out of the selections. Despite his knowledge of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” in rehearsals, Thompson had to change course and choose one of the other songs instead.
“When I went into vocal coaching, I was leaning toward the John Denver song because it’s easier, and I know it. But I feel like it’s not best vocally,” Thompson explained after one of the vocal coaches suggested he choose a song from Mayer's catalog. “I’ve never heard the song, ‘Heartbreak Warfare,’ but I already kind of feel it.”
“I’m concerned about how people are going to feel when I’m singing a John Mayer song,” he added. “I’m concerned that I won’t learn the song in time, but if it’s what you want, then you’ve got to put the work in.”
As with recent performances, Thompson stood on the stage with one hand on the microphone. Without the use of bells and whistles, he kept his performance simple and showcased his unique raspy vocals over light accompaniment. His moment not only hooked the audience; it also proved that he could handle pressure.
“Well, first of all, nothing is more challenging than trying to learn a song quickly,” Luke Bryan told Thompson afterward. “I mean, I’ve had singles that I’ve performed on awards shows that are new singles to me. I haven’t had a lot of time on stage. But the main thing is to take a song and to kind of crash course it. It was done well, but what I’m most happy with is just the fact that you challenged yourself. That was a big move.”
“You controlled it. What I’m loving about you is how you are growing. You are stepping into that space of your career. I am so proud of you,” Lionel Richie said.
“Honestly, you sounded great. It’s a great song. He’s a great artist, you’re a great artist, and I think that the fact that you keep on challenging yourself to grow in the moment is brilliant. You are surprising us. Good for you, man!” Katy Perry added.
This isn’t the first time that Thompson was forced to make a song change moments before hitting the stage. On Sunday (April 24), he swapped out Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody to Blame” in exchange for Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” at the last minute. Luckily, Thompson’s change of direction this time around didn’t deter his chances of making it into the Top 10. He earned enough votes with his performance to give him another shot toward winning it all.
American Idol returns Sundays and Mondays on ABC.