‘American Idol’ Judges Reveal Why Voters Were Drawn To ‘Underdog’ Noah Thompson

The 'American Idol' judges weigh in on Noah Thompson's 'likability factor' and why he ended up as the winner of season 20.

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Noah Thompson is the American Idol season 20 winner, and the judges are not surprised. Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry spoke to reporters, including HollywoodLife, after the finale about why America was so drawn to the construction worker from Kentucky.

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The ‘American Idol’ judges with winner Noah Thompson. (ABC)

“I think it’s just that likability factor the old American boy next door,” Luke said. “He came in as the underdog, the unassuming guy. He didn’t see it coming. America didn’t see it coming. And I think we’ve seen it in 20 years where those types of people… America pulls for them, responds to them, and it always tells me that at the end of the day being a good, humble, kind person wins in the end.”

Lionel added, “He’s relatable. I always tell people that half of the business is because the fans fall in love with you. Luke [Bryan] on the beach, Luke fishing, that’s just Luke. That’s not music. They identify with you to the point where they’ll wear your T-shirt because they like you and what you do. I can’t tell you how many nights he would walk off and go, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ And I go, ‘You got to start believing, son.’ So tonight, I walked up to him and said, ‘You want to tell me that now?’ So it’s that humble giant that you’re looking for that works every time.”

Katy is aware that the “heart of America” favors country artists, so seeing Noah and HunterGirl in the top 2 made sense to her. “Idol’s bread and butter has always been the heart of America. The heart of America really favors country music. I love all three of them.” The “Firework” singer gushed that Noah is “such a kind young man that deserves the world and if he really continues to believe in himself as he did on the show — in real life —  he’s going to go so far.”

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The ‘American Idol’ judges with host Ryan Seacrest. (ABC)

The singer admitted that the season 20 finale was an “emotional rollercoaster,” especially watching the top 3 return to their hometowns. “I feel like the show is doing something, it’s so beautiful. It’s great storytelling and amazing to see these kids and their lives and their families lives,” Katy said. American Idol will return for season 21 in 2023.