People have pulled for Noah Thompson when the Kentucky-born construction worker couldn’t pull for himself.
Some dreams simply seem out of reach when the limitations of growing up in a small town and the responsibilities of a toddler named Walker, make superstardom seem distant and meant for someone else. But America believed wholeheartedly in what Thompson couldn’t imagine for himself.
Season 20’s American Idol winner embodies the spirt of country music: overcoming adversity and the odds to achieve widespread acclaim and the hearts of millions. This is more than a CinderNoah story; this is the culmination of an “American (Idol) Dream.”
Before he was performing for 2.5 million television viewers, Thompson was singing for a rag-tag crew of a half dozen construction workers framing houses near his hometown of Louisa, KY (population 2,852). They were laborers with checkered pasts and/or limited options and Thompson was a daily distraction.
“Those boys would have me singing any song they could find on their phones,” said Thompson. “They would push me and push me all the time. It would drive me nuts, but it had a good outcome to it.”
Likeable, humble, funny, and clearly talented, before he knew it, one of the guys on the crew decided to submit him for the American Idol auditions in Austin, Texas.
“When he signed me up, it was a big “No,” recalled Thompson, who had never been on a plane prior to the auditions. “I really didn’t want him to do it. I could never really picture myself doing something like that. Being in that environment, surrounded by famous people like Luke Bryan and all them, it didn’t seem realistic to me.
“Where we come from it’s just such a small town. You see someone make it out of here and it is kind of magic that happens. It’s unrealistic in a way. It doesn’t seem like that can happen for you.”
During his winning season on American Idol, judge Luke Bryan summed it up: “You are going to ‘Aw, shucks’ your way to the top.”
And then he did.
“I came off the show freaking out – I had no idea what was happening, what to do with my life,” Thompson admits. “I knew I wanted to play music but in a million years, I never thought I would end up winning ‘American Idol,’ being on the road, playing shows and writing music. It took me a minute to figure that out.”