Funny thing about some people. In the ordinary light of day, they might look like misfits, even freakish. But when you see them under Black Lights, well...
June 5, 2012, started out like any other Tuesday. "America's Got Talent" broadcast its March 18 Austin, Texas, mass audition. All the usual suspects showed up. Pitchy singers, clumsy dancers, circus sideshow acts. Toward the end of the show, AGT judge Howard Stern said, "We're waiting for that big talent, big talent." If that wasn't a tip-off, what was? Cut to a shot of emcee Nick Cannon outside, chatting up the contestants as they waited in line. "Hey, Criss Angel," he said to a dark-haired young man wearing black leather, metal spikes, pale contact lenses, and a ton of black eyeliner.
Over the course of several camera shots, with Ozzy Osbourne's "Dreamer" playing in the background, we found out that the young man's name was Andrew, and he was going to sing. He had never sung in front of an audience before, and yet there he was, nervously striding toward center stage, facing the bright lights, three celebrity judges, hundreds of people in the live audience, and knowing that millions would watch the recorded broadcast. He could barely speak, answering Sterns' questions with tense monosyllables. In a later interview, Andrew admitted that he had expected to be *** booed off stage. (fact check) ***
But the music began, soothing arpeggios by harps and violins — wait, what? The judges looked at each other, puzzled, but only for a second. Andrew began to sing. In a clear, strong, soprano voice (the depth and resonance could hardly be called falsetto), he sang Puccini's aria "O Mio Babbino Caro" (Oh My Beloved Father). The applause began before he finished, and more than one audience member was caught on camera wiping away tears. (We found out later that one of his teary fans was his younger sister, Ariana.) Indeed, after he finished, Andrew struggled to hold back his own tears. The audience was on its feet, the judges were on their feet.
"What's going through your mind, can you share it with us?" asked Stern. "I'm just so used to being rejected. I'm not really good at anything, so this is amazing," Andrew answered. The audience, the judges, and Andrew's parents, who were also in the audience, quickly set him straight. "You've got an amazing voice, and YOU are an individual,"
So it was off to the Las Vegas round for Andrew, ***who had not traveled outside of Texas before, much less flown on a plane. (fact check)*** He made the cut as one of the "Judges' Favorites" contestants, and he was one of the first group of acts to audition. He began Rachmaninoff's "Zdes Khorosho" (How Fair This Spot) in the same clear, strong voice, but the stress of traveling, the short rehearsal time, and the panel of three stony-faced judges got to him. Andrew lost his place in the song, and he stopped singing. He tried to continue, but the damage was done. Andrew went home.
After the two episodes were broadcast, Andrew's hundreds of fans in the Austin area were joined by thousands of fans around the world. We flocked to Andrew's FaceBook and Twitter pages, eager for news of our new hero. We flooded AGT with requests to bring Andrew back as a wild card act, to give him a chance to prove that his first audition was not a fluke.
That August, Andrew returned to AGT. He stood in the center of a stage set that looked like a forest of crossed light sabers, dressed in a white suit, lacy black scarf and cuffs, and high black platform boots, hiding his brown eyes behind aquamarine contact lenses, and with his dark hair brushing past his shoulders. He sang a confident, sexy "Regresa a Mi" (Il Divo's Spanish version of Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart") in a sweet, strong voice, with just a hint of a rasp that only added to the charm. Again, the audience rewarded him with a standing ovation and the judges were effusive in their praise. The audience voted. Andrew would go on to the semi-finals.
For the next round, Andrew returned to the stage in a black suit with feathery epaulets. The blue stage lights reflected off his flowing black hair. He sang a fervent rendition of the Bach–Gounod "Ave Maria", his confidence radiating through the soaring high notes . He received another standing ovation from the audience. The judges, however, were noticeably cooler, much to the surprise of the audience — and Andrew. As if preparing him for a letdown, they noted the unusual nature of his act, his lack of training, and his appearance. After the audience votes were tallied, Andrew went home again.
And that would be that, except...
You can hear the rest of the story LIVE on the Jimmy Star Show Wednesday March 26th, 2014.
The Jimmy Star Show is pleased to showcase the expertise and talent of Andrew De Leon and all anticipate a fun and informative time talking with his about his career and the entertainment industries at large.. Join King of Cool Jimmy Star, Cool Man about Town Ron Russell, and Hollywood Vixen Deidra Sarego as they have a playful and sometimes wild time with the talented featured guest!
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