Amanda Mena was the last act to perform on the June 19 episode of “America’s Got Talent” but she was the first (and only) one to get the golden buzzer and be sent straight through to the live shows. She won over Mel B with her soulful rendition of the Aretha Franklin classic “Natural Woman.” After catching her breath backstage, this soft-spoken 15-year-old girl expressed her heartfelt thanks to the one-time Spice Girl who gave her this vote of confidence. As she recalls in the video above, “You’d think in those moments that everything would go slo-mo but it went super quick because I was having so much fun.”
Mena readily admits to being nervous before she auditioned for “AGT.” Only with the encouragement of the judges was she able to raise her voice in song. And what a voice it is. She sounds like a singer who has been performing for years. Indeed, her homage to the Queen of Soul evoked memories of the Motown sound that ruled the charts in the 1960s.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty observed, “Closing out tonight’s show, Mena came to the mic to showcase her voice. As a young person who learned English as a second language, struggled to find a place among her schoolmates and found music as a way of escaping loneliness and learning to connect to the world. She sang with clarity, maturity and in such a dynamic way that she’s comparable to Kelly Clarkson on ‘American Idol.'”