Noah Thompson powers through to Top 5 on 'American Idol' despite having COVID-19

·2 min read

It was a big weekend for the underdog in Kentucky.

Saturday, Rich Strike appeared out of nowhere to pull off the second-biggest longshot victory ever at the 148th Kentucky Derby. The next day, Kentucky native Noah Thompson, who is battling COVID-19, competed from his hotel room where he powered through the less than ideal circumstances to make it into the Top Five contestants remaining on ABC's "American Idol."

The 20-year-old construction worker from Louisa, Kentucky, was among the seven finalists who performed for the last five spots of the current season of American Idol.

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Prior to his performance while in quarantine, Thompson posted about how he was feeling on Instagram, "Voice is pretty rough but I’m gonna give it my all guys, thank y’all so much for any support."

Turned out that giving it his "all" was more than enough.

After singing “Painted Blue” by Kentucky duo Sundy Best, American Idol judge Luke Bryan told Thompson it was “one of your best performances.” Bryan also commented that even in his hotel room, Thompson looked “like a star.”

For his second song, and because Sunday was Mother's Day, he performed “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac, which he dedicated to his grandmother who he said raised him as a child.

“When you’re sick, you’re sounding a lot better,” judge Lionel Richie added. “The believability, the growl in your voice, the texture — that’s called selling, man. You nailed it.”

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Katy Perry, also a judge on the show with Richie and Bryan, agreed that the Kentucky singer hadn't only persevered through the adversity, he'd shown true star power.

“I think you had to surrender and just (say) like, ‘I’m going to do the best I can,’” Perry said. “And you did the best that you have ever done tonight.”

Louisa, Kentucky native Noah Thompson sings "Painted Blue" during the American Idol competition on May 8, 2022.
Louisa, Kentucky native Noah Thompson sings "Painted Blue" during the American Idol competition on May 8, 2022.

Another “Idol” contestant, Fritz Hager III, also was diagnosed with COVID-19 Sunday, but his stage rehearsal performances from Saturday were used for the televised airing.

The next episode of "American Idol" is Sunday, May 15, at 8 p.m. on ABC with the top five contestants performing live for America's vote for a chance to be in the finals.

Reach Kirby Adams at or Twitter @kirbylouisville.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Noah Thompson 'American Idol': Kentucky singer advances to Top 5