Swedish singer Chris Klafford grew up in a small town listening to rock music like KISS, which helped put him on a path to eventually audition for “America’s Got Talent.” During Tuesday’s final audition episode, Chris wowed judges Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union and Howie Mandel with his heartfelt and truly original rendition of John Lennon‘s “Imagine” — a performance that’s already gone viral. Following his soft rock cover, all four panelists gave Chris enthusiastic “yes” votes, which means he’ll next be seen in the Judge Cuts round. Watch the “AGT” performance video above and read the judges’ comments below.
Howie: “You know how they say sing from the heart? You wore your heart on your sleeve. We could all feel it and I feel it was amazing.”
Gabrielle: “I’m just blown away by your talent. I love the hair. Your beard is flourishing. And don’t you lose those skinny jeans. I’m here for all of it! Good job.”
Julianne: “I felt your heart and I felt your passion, and that’s what art is.”
Simon: “What I loved about you was what you did with the song, with your vocal. I love people who can reinterpret a song and you did something special just there. It was incredible.”
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “After declaring this one of the best crop of contestants ever, the judges settled in for the next audition–Swedish singer Chris Klafford. He played his guitar and sang ‘Imagine,’ immediately sending tears down the cheeks of audience members. Chris himself became emotional after he finished, something that matched the emotion the judges had felt in his performance. Simon liked that he reinterpreted the well-known song and called what he did ‘special.'”