Less than three months after winning American Idol, 20-year-old Noah Thompson is back in the spotlight with his first post-show music release! Noah received major praise for his rendition of Rihanna’s hit “Stay” on the show, and decided to release a full version of the song on July 29. “I feel like “Stay” was one of my biggest moments on the show,” Noah explained to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Nobody expects me, out of all people, to step out there and sing that type of song by Rihanna. I had a lot of comments and a lot of people reaching out to me saying, ‘You should do a full version of this.’ As soon as the show ended, they came to me with the idea of doing a whole country version and I was completely on-board for that. I’ve wanted to do that forever anyway, so I was excited.”
In the months since winning Idol, Noah has maintained a close relationship with several other contestants on his season. He and the show’s runner-up, HunterGirl, have stayed particularly close due to running in the same country music circles. “Me and Hunter got extremely close towards the end, probably from top 10 on,” Noah said. “We had our trailers side by side and everything. We kind of talked each other through each day. We were just there for one another. Me and Hunter are best friends — we’ve been best friends ever since then and we’ll always be there for each other. You kind of need that in doing this. We’re just there for each other like that.”
Of course, another very important person in Noah’s life is his son, Walker. While Noah admitted his toddler is still “too young” to understand what’s going on, he gushed over how important it’s been to have him along for the ride. “That was the whole point of me doing this show. It’s for him,” Noah admitted. “I want Walker to grow up and look at all of this like, ‘That’s my dad.’ That’s going to be one of my most proud moments. I love the thought of that. It’s going to be a big thing for me.”
Noah also confirmed that he’s been hard at work writing new music, and promised that he’ll get some original tunes out there for his fans sometime soon. However, even though he’s now forging his own path in the music industry, he said there’s an important piece of advice he got on American Idol that he’ll always take with him. “Lionel [Richie] was looking at me after we got done performing one time and he told me, for the rest of my life, to step on that stage with big boots and own that stage,” Noah revealed. “I never forgot that. I’ll remember that until the day I die. Coming from Lionel Richie, obviously that’s a big thing. I’ll never forget that.”Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.