Jeffrey Li may only be 13 but he is brimming with confidence and won over all four “America’s Got Talent” judges with his audition on the June 19 episode. While some may find his precociousness a bit too precious, the panel was captivated by him from the moment he strutted on stage. (Watch his audition video above.)
Li made an instant friend in head judge Simon Cowell when he revealed how he would spend some of the $1 million grand prize were he to win season 13 of “AGT.” “I’m an only child, so I’d love a companion, a dog.” As to what breed? A German Shephard because “it would play with me all day, and I would love that.” The curmudgeonly Cowell instantly softened, as he loves animals more than people. He promised Li that if he did well with his audition, “I’m gonna buy you a dog. We’ll choose one together.”
Li surprised all of the judges with his rendition of “You Raise Me Up.” This power ballad was made famous in the US by Josh Groban and in Cowell’s native UK by the Irish group Westlife. By the end of his performance, he had the whole audience, led by Cowell, cheering him on to hit that final high note.
The other three “AGT” judges were just as enthusiastic as Cowell. Howie Mandel said he was “a young male Celine Dion” while Mel B likened his voice to that of an angel. Heidi Klum teased, “Jeffrey, I think you might be getting a puppy from Simon” and Cowell confirmed this: “Jeffrey, I think this was an amazing audition, so I’m gonna keep my promise. Not only have you got four yeses, you’ve got yourself a new dog,”
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty observed, “That a voice that big comes out of a boy is beyond belief and that was written all over their faces. Howie complimented his talent and poise and Simon said the stakes couldn’t have been higher for him, choosing to sing one of the biggest songs in the world. It was three YESES from Howie, Mel and Heidi before Simon joined them with a fourth YES and another promise that he’d buy him that dog!”