From the beginning of the American Idol 2022 season, Noah Thompson stood out. But it wasn’t until he performed his cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” that he made a name for himself on the ABC show. Now, the aspiring country music singer is sharing the real story behind how he became known for that cover. It all started back in April when American Idol was up to its top 24 contestants. Noah had just performed a “shaky” duet and decided to go with a unique rendition of the R&B song. “This isn’t a song I would usually do but it reminds me of being back home, because it is a song me and my girlfriend Angel would sing together,” Noah said at the time. “Singing that song kind of shows what else I can do. I was hoping maybe that’s what the judges would want to see.”
Unsurprisingly, American Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were captivated by his country version, moving Noah on to the next round. But apparently, the Kentucky native was against performing it. This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. Speaking with the Mountain Citizen newspaper, the American Idol 2022 winner revealed that the song landed on the show’s radar after his best friend, Arthur, submitted it as part of his online audition. The cover was also posted on Noah’s TikTok in June 2021, months before he appeared on Idol.
“The producers had known that I could sing that so they kind of just came at me like ‘Well, why don’t you sing this song?’ I was like ‘No,’” he told the outlet. “I didn’t really want to sing that song in the first place at all because I barely [knew] that song. I just had to learn it as I went.” Noah continued: “But once I got that part down, I think it was just unique for everybody to hear me sing a song like that. That’s why now after the show ended, they kind of thought it would be a good idea to make a whole country version.”