Katy Perry, Noah Thompson, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Katy Perry, Noah Thompson, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

‘American Idol’ Judges Praise Idol Champion & “Underdog” Noah Thompson: “The Humble Giant Wins Every Time”

Noah Thompson was crowned the Season 20 winner of American Idol on Sunday evening (May 22). Following his big win, Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie praised the 20-year-old Kentucky native.

Bryan told People he thinks Thompson won over America’s vote due to his “likability” and his “all-American boy next door” charm.

“He just came in as the underdog… the unassuming guy that he didn’t see it coming, America didn’t see it coming,” Bryan admitted following the Idol finale. “And I think, you know, we’ve seen it in 20 years where those type of people, really — American 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.”

Richie agreed with Bryan and admitted, “the humble giant wins every time.”

“I can’t tell you how many times he woke up every night and went, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ And I go, ‘You got to start believing, son,’ ” Richie recalled. “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.”

Noah Thompson won over the judges and viewers from the moment he entered the audition room. His unassuming personality had people rooting for him from day one and Katy Perry said she believed that was the key to his success on the show, on top of his vocal talent, of course.

“I mean, the growth, he kind of was just like one of those underdogs too, like you know, he kept his head down, but kept on rolling the dice a little bit and pushing himself and singing that RiRi song and just like kind of picking a different way to play it,” Perry told Access. ”He is so humble and he is from Kentucky and you believe him when he talks about his son [Walker] and his son was there falling asleep with the little [noise-canceling headphones] on his ears. I loved it, I loved all of it. I’m just so proud.”

Thompson appeared to be shocked and left speechless when host Ryan Seacrest announced him as the winner of Idol. After the Idol finale, the newly crowned Idol champ sat down with a group of media representatives (per People), where he revealed that he felt “numb” after hearing the “insane” news that he is the Season 20 champion.

“10 minutes before that, I thought about my journey on this show. How it’s all been. And it’s been stressful,” Thompson humbly shared. ”It’s been a lot of things, I did not expect to make it this far and I just won. So I’m blown away but I’m just trying to take it all in,” he explained.

He later took to social media to share his gratitude to those who voted for him and supported him along the way.

“Had a hard time making this post because I truly couldn’t find the words to say… I was In complete shock in this moment and I still am and I probably always will be! Thank you all for giving me this opportunity, thank you to everyone who voted, thank you guys so much for everything!! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you all so thank you guys so, so much. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey and seeing where this thing goes. Love all of you all.”

Additionally, Thompson made his radio debut during On Air With Ryan Seacrest and first national TV appearance (aside from Idol) on Live With Kelly & Ryan as well as Good Morning America.

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