Idol Friendships

Everyone needs a friend like Arthur, and I don’t mean the aardvark (although he’s a good friend too!). If you’ve been watching ABC’s televised singing competition American Idol this season, then you know exactly which Arthur I’m talking about.

Arthur is a young, construction worker from rural Kentucky who was 100% confident that his friend and co-worker Noah Thompson possessed a singing voice for the ages. Rather than let Noah’s talent fester in anonymity, as Noah himself seemed resigned to doing, Arthur took matters into his own hands and signed Noah up to be a contestant on this season of American Idol.

[Friends] cherish each other’s hopes. They are kind to each other’s dreams.

Henry David Thoreau

If you’ve been a dedicated American Idol fan over the years, you may find it as hard to believe as I do that the show debuted 20 years ago–that is, until you consider its track record of launching talented singers into superstardom. The first season’s winner was a previously unknown Kelly Clarkson, who has gone on to win multiple Grammy and other awards, along with starring in movies and hosting TV shows. Other winners with impressive careers include Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreary and Jordin Sparks. Even some contestants who haven’t won have gone on to remarkable careers. To name a few: Jennifer Hudson, Katherine McPhee, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.

Every season of American Idol starts with auditions in various locations throughout the country. This year’s auditions were held in Nashville, Austin and Los Angeles, with thousands of contestants showing up from around the country. Since Covid, video auditions also have also been introduced to help reach a wider range of contestants.

When Noah’s preliminary video audition in front of producers ended with news of a subsequent live audition in front of Idol’s panel of celebrity judges–legendary singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan–Arthur was there. When Noah’s televised audition in front of the panel of celebrity judges ended with the news that Noah would be going to Hollywood to compete in the competition, Arthur was there.

And guess what? Now that Noah is a Top 5 finalist on the show, it’s no surprise that Arthur has continued to pop up throughout the season to cheer his friend on to what could ultimately be the American Idol title. But however things turn out on this season’s competition, the result has clearly been a win for Noah–who came to American Idol as a 19-year-old father and construction worker from Luisa, Ky.

One of my favorite Noah performances was a few weeks ago on American Idol’s Disney night, when he sang Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Singing that song that night, Noah seemed to be feeling more comfortable on stage, and he gave the lyrics an appropriately playful and authentic vibe.

Just this week, Noah released his first single, a song called One Day Tonight. And tonight, he goes on to compete for a spot in the competition’s Top 3. In my opinion, this season is chock full of talent and any of the five finalists would be worthy of winning the American Idol title. But I can’t help but be a little partial to the young man from my home state with the “real-life, story-telling, badass voice,” as Lionel Richie so aptly described him. I’m also a fan of Noah’s friend Arthur, who believed so strongly in him from the start.

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