As Season 17 of America’s Got Talent skips the quarterfinal and semifinal stages of the competition, all remaining contestants have one more performance to help them advance to the grand finale following their audition. Country singer Drake Milligan was on a mission to seal his spot—one of two out of the 11 performers on August 9 who will move to the finale—with his honky tonk-glossed “Kiss Goodbye All Night.”
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The song, off Milligan’s upcoming full-length debut, Dallas/Fort Worth, out September 15, is a nod to his hometown and country roots.
Already dubbed “The New Elvis of Country” on the show, following Milligan’s audition with Dallas/Forth Worth opening track “Sounds Like Something I’d Do,” the 24-year-old singer soared to the top of iTunes Country Album and Country Video charts.
When Milligan reappeared to perform again, judge Simon Cowell said that he had “absolute respect” for the singer for staying in the competition since performers who have songs reach No. 1 after appearing on America’s Got Talent tend to walk away and don’t continue competing.
“From the first moment I stepped on that ‘America’s Got Talent’ stage, all I wanted to do was come back and be in front of that crowd and be in front of those judges again,” said Milligan in a statement following his audition. “It’s so much fun to feel that energy from the crowd and to know that millions of people are watching. I just couldn’t wait to come back.”
Also an actor, who portrayed Elvis Presley on the CMT series Sun Records, Milligan previously appeared on American Idol in 2018.
After giving an explosive performance with the band on “Kiss Goodbye All Night,” Milligan received a standing ovation from all four judges and the audience. Cowell and judge Howie Mandel also suggested that Milligan could win the entire competition.
“I will predict that tomorrow that song will be No. 1 on the country chart again, I promise you,” said Mandel. “You have a good chance of winning this whole thing.”
Cowell added, “In my opinion, you are the real deal. You are a great songwriter. You have charisma…. This is, in my opinion, the best performance of the night.”
Judge Sofía Vergara called Milligan’s performance and presence “perfection,” and that it sounds like his music has already been playing on the radio. “I think you are a star,” she said.
For Milligan, America’s Got Talent is a precursor to his upcoming release. Featuring 14 tracks, Dallas/Fort Worth follows Milligan’s 2021 self-titled EP and was produced by Tony Brown and songwriter and producer Brandon Hood, with writing contributions by J.T. Harding, Bob DiPiero, Liz Rose, Phil O’Donnell, Brice Long, and more.
The America’s Got Talent finale episodes will air on NBC on September 13 and 14. Following his appearance on the show, Milligan is set to go on a headlining tour with shows and festival dates in September and October.
Main Photo: Chris Haston / NBC