Watch KY ‘American Idol’ singer wow after ‘scary’ decision


Noah Thompson decided to pick a new song before he took the stage.

A Kentucky singer took a “scary” risk — and it paid off big time on “American Idol.”

Noah Thompson originally planned to perform a Chris Stapleton song. But after former “American Idol” contestant Gabby Barrett told him to consider a song he felt a connection to, he decided to perform something else.

“I’m the only contestant switching my song at this point,” Thompson said on the episode that aired Sunday, April 24. “Yeah, it’s kinda scary.”

Under his new plan, he put a country spin on Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” a performance that helped him advance to the Top 11 in the competition.

The show’s celebrity judges were fans of the big risk.

“Gabby gave you a gift by changing that song,” Lionel Richie said. “Because … you felt that song.”

Fellow judges Luke Bryan and Katy Perry were also impressed by the performance, praising his authenticity.

“Your voice is just so real and unique to you,” Bryan said. “No matter what you go with as a song for the rest of your life, your delivery’s gonna be real.”

Votes from viewers helped Thompson make it to the next round of “American Idol.” The 19-year-old from Louisa, Kentucky — roughly 100 miles east of Lexington — took to Instagram to express gratitude to those who helped him move forward on the show.

“Thank you so so much for your support and votes,” he wrote. “Genuinely here because of you all and I hope you’re enjoying all of our performances.”

This story was originally published April 25, 2022 8:51 AM.

Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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