Those who tuned into American Idol Season 20 were introduced to 19-year-old construction worker Noah Thompson when he wowed judges with his audition — and revealed he was only there because his friend, Arthur, signed him up for the show. During the season, viewers watched Noah progress through the rounds all the way up to the grand finale on May 23, 2022. He ultimately beat out fellow finalist HunterGirl to win it all.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Noah opened up about his American Idol experience, what he's up to now, and what's next for him. Keep reading to learn more.
Did Noah's friend literally sign him up for the show?
Yes! Noah’s friend Arthur really did sign him up for American Idol. The construction co-workers were actually on the job, framing up walls, when the fateful moment happened.
“He was just sitting in his chair, being lazy as usual, and he ended up scrolling though [his phone.]" Noah told Distractify. "He saw where they were having auditions, and he told me he was going to sign me up. And I was like, ‘No, it’s not happening.’ I really did not want him to sign me up at all. I was really upset about it when I found out he did.”
Fast-forward to now, and the resounding message from Arthur to Noah is: I told you so. "If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here," Noah said. "Because I sure as heck wouldn’t have signed myself up.”
What was the hardest part of competing on 'American Idol'?
“Just being away all the time from my family, just everybody," Noah told Distractify.
Because of the demands of the show, Noah was away from home for long stretches of time — so he wasn’t always physically present for some of his now 1-year-old's milestones. “I missed him walking, missed his first birthday," he said of his son, Walker. "So it was hard.”
What was the best part of competing on 'American Idol'?
“All the contestants. I just loved the contestants, we just kind of became this little family," Noah told Distractify. "Basically, when it came down to the top 10, we were all going through the same mental phase. Because it was a lot. It was a lot of work that goes on behind it. And we were all kind of in it together.”
Getting to know judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan was also a highlight of Noah's AI experience: "They’re really good people. I love all of them."
What was it like performing with Melissa Etheridge?
During the three-hour season finale, Noah shared the stage with Melissa Etheridge for a performance of "I'm the Only One." It was definitely a moment he'll never forget.
"I literally love that woman. She is so cool," Noah told Distractify. "As soon as I met her, she just gave me a big hug, I gave her a hug ... She’s a rockstar."
What is Noah Thompson doing now — and what's next for the 'American Idol' Season 20 winner?
Right now, Noah, 20, is back in his hometown of Louisa, Ky., reconnecting with family and preparing for what’s next. (And mowing his lawn, as he shared via Instagram.)
What does winning 'American Idol' mean to you?
"Man, I still can’t find the words for it, you know? I’m so grateful for everybody that voted," Noah told Distractify. "I remember getting a Golden Ticket, how happy I was just to do that. I can’t believe I accomplished that."
He continued: "This whole show for me has just been a lot of things. It’s been cool. It’s been crazy. It’s been every word in the book. So to get to the end, just to make it to the finale, I was just blown away. I didn’t expect to win this show at all. I still can’t believe it, man. I look myself up on the Internet to make sure it says I’m one of the winners."
Be sure to follow Noah Thompson on Instagram to keep up with his latest music endeavors and upcoming performances.