When Noah Thompson took the stage on Monday night (April 4) to perform on American Idol, he intentionally decided to step outside of the box. The 24-year-old construction worker from Kentucky chose a song from way outside of his genre as part of the intense “Showstoppers Round.”

Belting out a cover of the pop smash "Stay" from superstar Rihanna, Thompson caught the full attention of the audience and judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Even though his song choice was unpredictable, Thompson made the tune his own, inserting his natural country twang into the lyrics alongside a full band of musicians.

“I want to applaud you on your song choices,” Bryan told Thompson afterward. “You got a magic quality going on in your voice, and what I told somebody, I said, ‘I’d love to have 10 minutes with you, just to fine-tune to where you have that magic from the top to the end of the song.’”

“If you could figure out how to hold that because no one is expecting what’s about to come out of your mouth when you start singing. That’s what the crowd did when you were out there. They went, ‘holy crap, this is awesome.’ So you’ve got to use that in your favor, and you’ve got to get there quick,” the country judge added.

Thompson went up against 59 other contestants, who were also competing for a chance to be in the Top 24 during the episode. That meant 35 individuals went home after receiving their “final judgment” from their celebrity mentors. Luckily for Thompson, he was not one of those 35. His song choice proved to be the right one, as it earned him another chance to win over America's hearts.

So far on his Idol journey, Thompson — who is competing to make his son, Walker, proud — has shown judges that he is a standout competitor. But he has faced some hurdles along the way. On Sunday (April 3), during Hollywood Week, he was paired with Olivia Faye for the “Duets Challenge.” Both singers had a tough time choosing a song to sing together, which resulted in Thompson flubbing some of the words to Noah Cyrus’ “July.” Despite the minor hiccup, he was able to stay, and this time, he showed judges that they made the right decision.

American Idol airs Sunday and Monday nights on ABC.

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