For two young country singers, Hollywood Week was an exciting one on American Idol. Young contestants Ryleigh Madison and Noah Thompson impressed judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie and get to proceed to the next round of the singing competition. Both Madison and Thompson grew up in small towns and couldn't believe how far they'd made it on the popular ABC series.
"I'm a singer, and it's very rare back home to have such ambitious dreams. But, you come here, and there are just so many talented people. So, you're like, 'What?' It's not home anymore," Madison explained of her hometown of Whiteville, N.C.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Thompson works as a construction worker back home in Kentucky where he recently welcomed a baby, now 7 months old.
"Just a few months ago, I could've never imagined pursuing something like this.... It blows my mind that I'm even here. This could give me the opportunity to give my son an entire new life -- a better life," Thompson stated.
Both artists even got some first-hand advice from someone who knows exactly what it's like to be in their shoes. Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina had a full-circle moment sitting with the young country singers to offer a bit of wisdom.
"There should be zero doubt. You are here because you deserve to be here," Alaina told Madison after reflecting on what it was like to sit there receiving advice from Carrie Underwood 10 seasons prior. She also told Thompson to "think about what you're doing for [your son] and for y'alls' future and what could come of it."
It seemed the words of encouragement worked as Madison and Thompson took on the genre challenge. Madison gave a stunning performance of Patsy Cline's classic "Crazy" which received enthusiastic applause and praise from all of the judges. Thompson followed with Cam's "Burning House" which allowed him to show off his guitar skills. Despite the fact that Mike Parker also performed that song earlier in the episode, Thompson proved he had what it takes to move on.
Next time we see Madison and Thompson they will be paired with another season 20 contestant in a duet.
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