Luke Bryan Dishes on Why Noah Thompson Won ‘American Idol’

by Emily Morgan

You could say Luke Bryan was anything but surprised when America dubbed Noah Thompson the winner of Season 20’s “American Idol.” After the three-hour finale, Bryan believes he knows why America chose the Kentucky native as the winner.

Although Thompson admits his “American Idol” journey has been nothing short of “stressful,” taking home the title has made him feel like the whole experience has been a dream. 

“I did not expect to make it this far, and I just won,” Thompson said during a group interview after the finale. “I’m blown away, but I’m just trying to take it all in.”

In fact, it’s Thompson’s unassuming and humble spirit that judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie believe is what ultimately won over America. 

“I think, you know, we’ve seen it in 20 years where those types [of] people, really — America pulls for them, responds to them. And it always tells me that, at the end of the day, being a good, humble, kind person wins,” the seasoned country music star and “Idol” judge said, weighing in on the results of the Season 20 finale. 

“He just came in as the underdog … the unassuming guy that he didn’t see it coming. America didn’t see it coming.”

“I can’t tell you how many times [Noah] woke up every night and went, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ And I go, ‘You got to start believing, son,'” Lionel Richie added. “Well, tonight, I walked up to him and said, ‘You want to tell me that now?’ But it’s that humble giant that you’re looking for that works every time.”

When the nationwide vote ended on Sunday, Thompson had the edge over fellow country music singer and runner-up HunterGirl. Leah Marlene ultimately came in third. 

Luke Bryan predicts this year’s ‘Idol’ winner

While HunterGirl and Marlene were evidently popular, it seemed to be Thompson’s “likability” and his “All-American” spirit that made him capture America’s hearts. 

However, the father and construction worker may have never taken home the title had it not been for his friend’s encouragement. He auditioned for the singing competition after his friend, Arthur, submitted him to the show. 

He first became an early standout when Thompson auditioned with Kameron Marlowe’s “Giving You Up.” 

However, he hit a roadblock midway through the competition when he tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he had to deliver his performance via video stream from a hotel room. Nevertheless, he didn’t let that get the best of him, and he went on to the next round. 

During the finale, Thompson proved wowed us with four performances. He covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” an original song called “One Day Tonight,” a duet with Melissa Etheridge on “I’m the Only One,” and Rihanna’s “Stay.” He performed “Stay” earlier in the season.