Noah Thompson earned a standing ovation from the American Idol judges following a cover of the Carrie Underwood ballad “So Small” on Sunday evening (May 15).
Ahead of his performance of the chart-topping hit, Thompson visited with Idol alum and eight-time GRAMMY award winner Carrie Underwood via video chat.
Their conversation brought Underwood to tears as she admitted she had a lot in common with the Kentucky native due to their similar upbringings.
“I feel like there’s a lot of things I can relate to with that because I grew up in a tiny town,” she shared.
As she wiped tears away, Underwood went on to reflect on her American Idol journey.
“I do feel like this show was created for people like me and for people like Noah who didn’t know how to dream that big but knew they wanted to do something. It’s a beautiful thing,” she said. “I think back…that’s the 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.”
After performing in his hotel room last week, the former construction worker made his return to the Idol stage with a confident performance that showcased his newfound stage presence.
He earned a standing ovation and compliments from the judges.
“You know what Noah that fascinates me? What makes you so appealing is that you’re real. You’re actually a real person,” Lionel Richie praised. “On top of that, you have the ability to tell stories. You can tell stories, you’re believable. But more importantly, I want you to understand something. There’s a point in life, it happens to all of us, where we sit there and go, ‘wow, is this really happening to me?’ Noah, this is really happening to you.”
Katy Perry joked that his time in his hotel room worked in his favor, telling him: “I don’t know what you found between those two ferns for a whole week, but it was good. I have never seen you move from that stage to this stage.”
She encouraged him to connect with the fans. “Listen, you’ve got another opportunity to do that tonight. Keep doing it. It’s working in your favor. People are obsessed with you, they want to touch you. Noah, reach out and touch ‘em.”
Luke then gave him a lesson on how to reach out and touch the fans in the audience as he left the judges’ panel and walked over to the stage. He then took Thompson’s hand and reached out to adoring fans who were watching from the front row.
“Dang, that felt pretty good,” Thompson laughed.
“Luke is breaking protocol all over the place,” host Ryan Seacrest joked.
“So Small” was written by Underwood alongside Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird. The ballad was released in 2007 as the lead single from her Carnival Ride album and went on to become her fourth chart-topping single.
Later in the show, Thompson returned to the stage for a performance of Larry Fleet’s “Working Man.”
Noah Thompson ultimately earned enough votes to secure a spot in the Top 3 alongside Huntergirl and Leah Marlene. The trio will advance to the finale, which will air on Sunday, May 22.
Listen to “One Day Tonight,” Noah Thompson’s debut single, HERE.