British singer Lee Collinson impressed America’s Got Talent judges with his big voice during the season 17 premiere on May 31.
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Auditioning on the America’s Got Talent stage, Collinson of Southhampton, England, took on Dermot Kennedy’s 2021 song “Better Days,” wowing the audience and judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Howie Mandel, with his powerful vocals.
“The dream is to just be making music, whether that’s studio, whether that’s touring, whether that’s singing, I just want to be able to quit my day job,” said the 21-year-old “fencer” before performing. “My day job is a fencer, not sword fighting,” clarified Collinson. “It’s putting up fencing… in gardens.”
Collinson, who admitted that it was his first time in America, said he chose Kennedy’s song because of the past few years during the pandemic and after losing a friend during this time. “I chose it because recent times have been really tough for everyone and it’s just saying we’re going up now and it’s better to move on,” said the singer. “I lost a friend during lockdown [and] for me it’s very personal.”
Following his performance, Collinson received a standing ovation from all four judges and most of the audience. “People don’t understand at home the pressure that is felt when somebody just walks out and stands on that stage,” said Mandel. “Then you take someone as young as you are, and it’s your first time in America…. for you to take all that pressure and just explode it off your shoulders and raise the roof in this room is truly amazing.”
Klum added, “I think it was worth it going on that 14-hour plane ride to come here. You can sing. You look great. You have stage presence. You nailed it.”
Cowell continued giving the singer some early praise. “You know what, there’s something really charming and humble and like-able about you, and you probably don’t even know how good you are,” said Cowell. “I hope this is the beginning of something really special for you.”
The judges then called Collinson’s mother in the U.K. to inform her that her son was receiving a “yes” from each of them, advancing him to the next round.
Prior to auditioning on AGT, the 21-year-old singer tried out for the British talent competition The Search in 2020. By the end of 2021, Collinson also released two singles of his own: “I Know” and “That’s Okay.”
“You have no idea how hard it’s been keeping my mouth shut,” posted Collinson, prior to his audition. “Thank you everyone for your patience with me. I can’t wait for the next level.”
Photo: Trae Patton/NBC