Kentucky singers take on American Idol 'Hollywood Week' – Courier Journal

Needless to say, there was a fair amount of wreckage to clean up at the Dolby Theater after the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. On Sunday, the Oscars turned sour when actor Will Smith walked up on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock over a joke the “King Richard” actor didn’t like. 
Clean-up crews must have worked overtime because on Monday, the Dolby Theater will sparkle again as ABC’s American Idol launches “Hollywood Week.” Among the contestants who will be peacefully battling it out on stage for their piece of the spotlight are Kentucky natives Dakota Hayden and Noah Thompson. 
“I got the golden ticket but will I make it through #HollywoodWeek?” Thompson asked in an Instagram post. 
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The unassuming 19-year-old construction worker from Louisa, Kentucky recently auditioned for “American Idol” judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie — and blew their socks off.
“You are the American dream,” Perry told Thompson at the end of his audition where he performed “Giving You Up” by Kameron Marlowe.
Thompson, who sings country music and plays guitar, told the judges he had little confidence in his own talent. It was his coworker and friend, Arthur Johnson, who made a video of Thompson singing and sent it to “American Idol” producers.  
The other Kentucky contestant competing at Hollywood Week is an 18-year-old high school student from Fordsville, Kentucky. 
During the live auditions which took place in Nashville, Tennessee, the American Idol judges took one look at Dakota Hayden and listened to his rendition of Luke Combs‘, “When It Rains It Pours,” and the three were ready to make room for one more country performer.
“We found somebody here,” Ritchie said at the conclusion of Hayden’s audition. “You are pure country, and it’s believable as heck.” 
Starting Monday, Hollywood Week features contestants who were previously selected by the judges during a live audition process. In this next round of competition, Thompson and Hayden will be taking part in the Genre Challenge. Each contestant will select which genre they best fit into — their options are pop, country, soul, rock, r&b, and indie-folk — and then perform a solo head-to-head with everyone else in that genre.
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The 20th Season of ABC’s American Idol airs on WHAS starting at 8 p.m. During Monday’s episode, you’ll see some of the most prolific alums in “Idol”‘s 20-year history returning to mentor the contestants, including Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Lauren Alaina, Ruben Studdard, Chayce Beckham, Lee DeWyze and Haley Reinhart. 
Reach Kirby Adams at or Twitter @kirbylouisville


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