'American Idol': Louis Knight Feels 'Validated' as Confidence Has Skyrocketed Throughout Journey (Exclusive)

Louis Knight has as good of a chance as any of the Top 7 finalists to come away as the next American Idol. Ahead of Sunday's finale, Knight tells PopCulture.com exclusively that he has "grown tremendously in all aspects" throughout his run on the show. But one of those moments not seen on camera was his struggles during Hollywood Week, something he admits was rough to deal with at the time.

"I started dealing with terrible anxiety due to being sleep deprived," Knight told PopCulture. "I started packing my suitcase and almost left the show, but luckily with the support of my family, manager, and the production team I saw that day through." From that moment on, Knight has never looked back. He says he has finally found confidence in himself thanks to the limits he has been pushed to in the competition. "You don't know how to sail through a hurricane until you do it," he further explained.

During the Top 7 performances last week, Knight performed a classic from The Lion King, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" before giving his rendition of Carole King's "You’ve Got A Friend" for his Mother's Day Song. At one point, Katy Perry compared him to Niall Horan while Luke Bryan said he hit everything he was looking for during his Disney performance. "Getting into the Top 10 was a dream come true, the Top 7, even more a blessing," Knight said. "I've been working twice as hard on every performance, and really trying to find myself in the judges critiques. This was so validating."

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The Philadelphia native calls the support he has been receiving from the voters at home "heartwarming" and still can't believe there are people out there watching him sing every week, sharing how "every day, they're helping me get closer and closer to reaching my dreams." This is all Knight could ask for as he explains that singing and songwriting is the only thing he has ever wanted to do. From performing his own song, "Change" at his audition to finding himself with a shot to win it all on Sunday, Knight calls the whole experience a validation that he is on the right career path. "I've been so fortunate to have this outlet and to have such great support around me," Knight said. "Of course I have moments of doubt, but to me, in my mind, there's never been another option. Every step along this American Idol journey has been such a blessing filled with learning and growth."

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Knight said it would be "truly amazing" to hear his name announced as the winner by Ryan Seacrest, but what has made this all worthwhile doesn’t boil down to earning America's final vote, but about the journey that he has found himself on from the auditions to finale night.

American Idol will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC with live fan voting throughout the evening as the Seaon 18 champion will be crowned. For the freshest in reality TV coverage, follow PopCulture.com for all your Idol coverage, along with the latest on your favorite contestants from years past and new. Keep it locked to our official Twitter @PopCulture too, for the latest updates in the world of entertainment.