Without his best friend, Arthur, newly crowned American Idol Season 20 winner Noah Thompson would still be hanging sheetrock as an unknown and unassuming construction worker.
He’d be a hidden music star, with his dream of playing music just that: a dream.
After over 16 million votes were cast late on Sunday night, show host Ryan Seacrest officially declared Thompson as the newest American Idol, just nudging out fellow country star Hunter Girl.
Becoming the 20th American Idol is the culmination of an unlikely journey for a young man from the small southern town of Louisa, Kentucky (population 2,852).
In fact, Thompson’s journey from installing drywall to American Idol champ nearly never began.
While working alongside his fellow construction workers, Thompson would sing while he worked.
Noticing his friend’s raw talent, Noah’s best friend and coworker Arthur signed him up for the “Idol Across America” virtual audition and recorded him singing.
The show staff liked what they saw, and Thompson was soon invited to Idols’ in-person Texas audition before judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
To get there, Thompson took the first plane ride of his life.
There, he recounted the story to the judges:
“We [were] actually hanging up sheetrock at work and he told me he was going to sign me up for it. I say, ‘No, you’re not.’ But he did it anyway.”
“As a kid, all I thought about was just playing music, being famous. But where I’m from, you don’t really get much opportunities. My family, they believe in me. The guys I work with believe in me. But I’ve just never believed in myself … I would have never signed myself up for nothing like this. I’ve never had that confidence,” Thompson said on the show.
During his audition, country music star Luke Bryan asked Thompson how he found American Idol.
“I didn’t find American Idol. My buddy found American Idol for me. He signed me up for it.”
Video Credit: American Idol
Noah got three yeses and a golden ticket to Hollywood at that Texas audition, where judge Lionel Richie told Arthur, “Angels come in very strange packages. And this man’s angel showed up in a red, plaid shirt” (referring to Arthur).
Interviewed on the show, Arthur said, “Noah’s just got pure, raw talent man. It’s just something he was born with. And that’s what I’ve been trying to get through his head and everyone else has been trying to get through his head … He’s not born to be working with us, man, doing drywall or anything like that. He has a gift.”
In Hollywood, Thompson became a part of the show’s Top 24, Top 10, Top five, Top three … And now winner.
“It’s pretty cool to know that somebody believes in you more than you believe in yourself,” Thompson said.
Truly, sometimes friends can see things that others can’t see in themselves.
In an age when friendships seem to be going out of style, Thompson’s nearly overnight journey from construction worker to country music star reminds us to value and invest in our friends.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
And perhaps most touching of all, Thompson’s purpose in pursuing his burgeoning music career is to provide for his young son.
“My little boy, he’s my strive for all this,” Thompson said on the show. “Blows my mind that I’m even here. This could give me the opportunity to give my son an entire new life, a better life.”
Arthur’s decision to give his friend the nudge he needed didn’t just change Noah’s life. He’s changed his son’s life as well.
Because that’s what friends do.
Related articles and resources:
Developing Friendships That Last
Survey Finds Americans Increasingly Report Having No Close Friends – Especially Younger Men
Close Family Bonds Make Teenagers More Empathetic to Their Friends, Study Finds
Photo from YouTube.