American Idol 2022 Top 5: Noah Thompson Prevails After Battling COVID
This week on the American Idol semi-final, 5 contestants fought for a spot in next week’s finale, tackling songs from one of show’s most successful alumni, season 4 winner Carrie Underwood. The Top 5 also performed song picks that they each felt could get them into the final. (Read our Recap)
The three contestants who American voted into the finale were authentic, somewhat inexperienced country heartthrob Noah Thompson, country songstress and platinum ticket recipient HunterGirl, and quirky indie pop singer Leah Marlene.
However, heading into the finale, there is one clear frontrunner and that is Noah Thompson. Prior to the night, the singers released originals which they will perform in next week’s finals. The songs will also become the winner’s “coronation” single. Noah’s original single, “One Day Tonight” charted as high as No. 3 on the iTunes overall chart and it is leading the pack in Spotify streams with over 40,000 in under 72 hours. Will this song be enough for Noah to win? Season 19 champ Chayce Beckham’s “23” had similar success and proved to be enough.
Let’s break down Noah rollercoaster of a night that solidified his position in this finale. It was first noted that Noah did not travel with his fellow Top 5 members to see Carrie in Vegas, as he was still in quarantine. Noah confessed that last week, he didn’t think he’d advance to next round because of how sick he was. But he thinks last week’s “Painted Blue” was one of his best performances, because singing in his hotel room alone, with just his guitar was not so nerve wracking. Carrie advised him to close his eyes and feel the moment when his nerves hit, and truly connect to the lyrics. Noah says he is competing on Idol for his son, Walker. Noah and Carrie compare their journeys as they both come from small towns. Noah’s backstory has Carrie in tears.
Noah covers Carrie’s hit “So Small.” In his opening, Noah sounds like a country star with a nice tone, but quickly he runs out of breath. He lacked a bit of the power and his usual rasp seemed to be decimated. He does seem to be more comfortable on stage than he did during Disney week. The vocals aren’t all there, but he does go for it in the latter half. The lack of power and rasp could be due to him coming off of Covid.
Judge Lionel Richie notes how surreal the experience must feel for Noah. Katy Perry calls the performance “good” and remarks on how his stage presence has grown. Luke Bryan awkwardly has Noah touch a few audience members in an attempt to try to keep growing his confidence. Noah believes he’s getting more comfortable. Host Ryan Seacrest reveals the social media posts Fritz Hager posted depicting Noah photoshopped into photos of the other four in Las Vegas.
Before his second performance, Noah shares about inspiring his son by chasing his dreams and he marvels that he’s gone further in the competition than he could’ve possibly imagined. Noah closed the show with a lesser-known song called “Working Man” by Larry Fleet. This is a moment for Noah. It is up there with his “Painted Blue” and “Stay” performances. I’d argue it is his best vocal to date. Noah’s strength is when it is just him and his guitar. His vocal cuts through and he seems to connect better under these circumstances. This song is more along the lines of Americana which led to Chayce’s victory last year. These type of songs work the best for Noah. He shares a lot of similarities with Chayce tonally and also with the likability factor.
Lionel tells America to vote. Katy declares that Noah “aced that test.” Luke agrees with me stating that the singer is best with just a guitar and a stool.
Noah sails through to the finale. Do you agree that Noah is the one to beat? Leah is unpredictable and has been known to pull-off major moments, and the judges pegged Hunter as an early favorite. But Noah’s charm and social media response seem to put him in the lead.
The three hour American Idol Grand Finale airs on ABC Sunday May 22 at 8 pm ET/5 pm ET.