‘American Idol’ Contestants Stricken with COVID Perform Remotely and Make the Top 5

Viewers watching American Idol on May 8 may have noticed a slightly different “stage” setup for contestant Noah Thompson. The Kentucky native had previously contracted COVID and had to perform on the special Mother’s Day- and TikTok-themed show from his hotel room during the live taping on Sunday. Fellow contestant Fritz Hager III also contracted COVID-19 but had previously recorded his performances prior to the May 8 taping.

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Performing around the theme of Mother’s Day and TikTok, the Top 7 took on two songs each, one popularized on social media platform and another in dedication to mothers, grandmothers and caregivers in their lives.

Thompson’s first song was more intimate from the other contestants. Set near a window in his hotel room with his acoustic guitar, Thompson sang a heartfelt rendition of the 2014 Sundy Best song “Painted Blue.”

For his second song, Thompson stood up to sing Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 hit “Landslide,” a tribute to his grandmother, who he says was more of a mother to him following his parents’ divorce.

A COVID-19 diagnosis didn’t keep Texas native Hager from sharing his live performance on Sunday and competing for the Top 5.

Also unable to perform live in front of the audience, the 22-year-old had already recorded his performance of two original songs, including “The Ocean,” which he performed during the Mother’s Day portion of the show and dedicated to his mother Sarina and his late grandmother “B” during a Saturday rehearsal. “Doing an original on the song is always a risk,” said Hager prior to his performances, “but I just wanna show people who I am as an artist.”

Hager’s grandmother passed away five years ago and always wanted him to write a song about their family beach house. “It wasn’t just a house,” said Hager, “it was more about the memories there and the people.”

Singing All my friends are moving on / And I’m in my room writing songs / Going nowhere, something’s wrong, I know it / All my friend are going places / Popping champagne at the races / Bigger cities, bigger town / I’m in my room, think I’m drowning, Hager moved through “All My Friends,” a song off his self-titled EP that recently reached No. 1 on the iTunes Pop Chart.

“Just for you to transition so much from the acoustic guitar to have the electric guitar and have that rockstar moment, it looked amazing and sounded amazing,” said judge Luke Bryan following his performance of “All My Friends.”

Throughout the night guest mentor will.i.am was on hand to lend advice to the remaining seven contestants. In the end, contestants Jay Copeland and Christian Guardino were eliminated, leaving Thompson, Hager, Nicolina, HunterGirl, and Leah Marlene in the Top 5.

Photo: ABC

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