Thompson auditioned for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.
Thompson is a 19-year-old construction worker from Kentucky who told the judges that he didn’t even choose to sign up for “American Idol” by himself, though he said that as a kid he always thought about being able to play music and be famous one day.
“I didn’t find ‘American Idol,’ my buddy found ‘American Idol’ for me. He signed me up for it,” Thompson shared. “We was actually hanging sheetrock at work and he said, ‘I’m gonna sign you up for it’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not.'”
Arthur, Thompson’s friend, said that he didn’t believe that Thompson was “born” for laying drywall and that he was actually born for singing in front of people.
“It’s pretty cool to know someone believes in you more than you believe in yourself,” Thompson said before his audition.
Thompson Performed ‘Giving You Up’ By Kameron Marlowe
For his audition song, Thompson performed “Giving You Up” by Kameron Marlowe.
The judges liked his voice, but Luke Bryan, in particular, was a bit worried about his thick accent when singing.
“I don’t wanna touch your accent, I don’t wanna touch it. But sing the chorus one more time and be a little more deliberate with the lyrics,” Bryan told him after his first try.
Thompson took his advice, performing the chorus one more time, and that’s when his audition seemed to really click with Perry.
Richie called his voice “believable.”
“You got a real-life, storytellin’, bada** voice,” Richie told the singer. “It’s believable. Now, I don’t know what you were expecting, but I know you weren’t expecting that. That’s why I said it the way I said it.”
The Judges Are ‘Excited’ About Thompson
After the audition, the judges took some time to thank Thompson’s friend, Arthur, for sending him to the competition. They brought in Arthur after Thompson sang and before they gave him an answer. When asked why he signed up his friend he simply replied, “because he was never gonna sign himself up.”
“You are the American Dream,” Perry told the singer.
After Arthur talked about how Thompson has a “raw” voice and doesn’t warm up, the judges joked that he should be his best friend’s manager.
“Arthur, I know that you’ve probably never been given this title before, but angels come in very strange packages, and this man’s angel showed up in a red plaid shirt,” Richie said. “But I’m gonna tell you something, to get yes, yes, yes… you’re a wonderful man.”
Thompson receives three “yes” votes from the judges, earning a Golden Ticket and making his way to Hollywood Week.
“American Idol” airs on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time on ABC. Later in the season, the show will likely move to a two-nights-a-week format.