After Simon Cowell compared “America’s Got Talent” shy singer Benicio Bryant to One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles, the 14-year-old later admitted that it “absolutely freaked me out.” In his “AGT” interview for NBC (watch above), Benicio declared, “I was really nervous about what he was going to say, and he was the first one to stand which made me happy.” In case you missed it, Benicio performed Brandi Carlile‘s “The Joke” during last week’s audition episode of the reality TV show and received four “yes” votes from Simon, Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, which means we’ll next see him in the Judge Cuts round.
“It’s so crazy because I’ve been watching this show for so long,” Benicio added. “I was like, ‘I want to be up on that stage one day.’ It just was so amazing to say that I’ve done that. It was like a dream. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that I’m actually doing this right now.”
As for why he decided to sing “The Joke,” Benicio explained, “I think it has an amazing message and I love that long. I performed that song with Brandi Carlile. My high school was doing a fundraiser for the music arts program and that’s how I kind of got to know her.” Later on Benicio and Brandi performed together on Seth Meyers‘ late night show and they “kind of became friends after that.”
Benicio, who previously competed on “The Voice Kids” in Germany, claimed that he felt “so much pressure” performing in front of the “America’s Got Talent” judges and the live studio audience. “I went out there and I just gave it my all, and I guess they really liked it,” he concluded.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty wrote the following about the performance: “14 year old singer Benicio Bryant was up next with his rendition of ‘The Joke’ by Brandi Carlile. Soon after he started signing Julianne got chills and by the time he hit the big moment of the chorus the entire audience rose to their feet to cheer him on. It was a controlled, textured and perfect vocal. Julianne was a huge fan of his, but she was supported by the other three judges who all agreed that his ability to build the song as it went along was impressive. Just before taking the all YES votes from the panel, Simon compared Benicio to a ‘young Harry Styles.'”