‘American Idol’: Why Carrie Underwood Got So Emotional Talking to Noah Thompson on Return Episode

by Leanne Stahulak

Last night, “American Idol” alum Carrie Underwood helped three contestants sing their way into the Grand Finale, feeling the emotions of the moment herself.

Carrie Underwood won “American Idol” back in Season 4. Now, almost 20 years later, she’s helping the next generation of stars make their way to the competition’s finale, which airs next Sunday, May 22.

At one point during last night’s episode, Underwood got a bit emotional during her solo interview. She’d just finished mentoring Noah Thompson, who ended up advancing to the finale along with HunterGirl and Leah Marlene. Per PEOPLE, Underwood found herself relating to Thompson’s story, saying she also grew up in a small town.

“I do feel like this show was created for people like me. For people like Noah, who didn’t know to dream that big but knew that they wanted to do something,” Underwood said, tearing up. “So it’s a beautiful thing. I mean, I think back and that’s a decision that changed my entire life — I have no idea where I’d be. And to see contestants get every opportunity they’ve ever wanted is just magical.”

Carrie Underwood met up with the “American Idol” contestant via video chat. Thompson tested positive for COVID-19 earlier but tested negative before performing live. He ended up singing Underwood’s song “So Small,” dedicating it to his family back home.

“Carrie, she’s so sweet,” Thompson said during his solo interview. “A lot of this is so new to me, and I’m sure it was so new to her also when she started out.”

Watching the episode back and hearing her kind words about him, Thompson “couldn’t believe it.”

“We just kind of relate in that way — from a small town and want to make something of yourself and it’s hard. So for her to say that, to know she felt something for me — that was really amazing,” Thompson shared. “I thought that if somebody like Carrie Underwood can relate to me in that way — that was amazing.”

See the emotional moment for yourself in the video below.

Here’s What We Know About the ‘American Idol’ Finale: Carrie Underwood Performing, Who Made the Top 3, and More

Last night, the Top 5 contestants on “American Idol” narrowed down to the Top 3. And those Top 3 performers are… Noah Thompson, HunterGirl, and Leah Marlene! Unfortunately, fans had to say goodbye to Nicolina and Fritz Hager. But not for long.

All the contestants who made it into the Top 10 will return to perform during the show’s finale. We’ll also see performances from  Thomas Rhett, Gabby Barrett, Carrie Underwood, Deana Carter, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ben Platt, James Arthur, Sara Bareilles, Melissa Etheridge, Flo Rida, Tai Verdes, and Michael Bublé.

And of course, let’s not forget the performances from the three “American Idol” judges. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan will all take the stage.

Don’t miss the finale next Sunday, May 22, on ABC.