When Sheldon Riley entered the stage of “America’s Got Talent” on the seventh night of auditions, judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel weren’t quite sure what to make of him. His sense of fashion was the first statement he made, using a stylish black outfit and a rhinestone face mask to present an immediate air of mystery as well as comfort in his own skin. Watch this “masked singer’s” audition above, an excellent rendition of Billie Eilish‘s “idontwannabeyouanymore.”
Sheldon was so set on remaining mysterious to the judges that he did not address Simon’s questions, and instead went right into the song. Based on their expressions, the judges were in awe of his talent and especially the sense of wonder it had encouraged in them. After singing, Sheldon did open up to the judges and explained his way of things so clearly.
The Australian singer told Simon that he’s really passionate about fashion and music, but that in life he found people weren’t really interested in talking to him until he began “doing this.” The “this” he describes later to Terry Crews is being “authentically yourself,” something he hopes little kids watching will take away from his presence on the show.
Simon and Howie both told Sheldon that the mysteriousness of his performance, the costume and the drama of it is what makes him stand out and that Simon prefers “originality over predictability.” That was a bit of a shock to Sheldon, but he said that he found in America that everyone is so “accepting and open to difference.” Sofia also loved Sheldon’s performance, especially his eyes, and in adding her yes vote to Howie and Simon’s meant that he was advancing to the next round unanimously. Sheldon will return for a second audition in the Judge Cuts round, expected to begin on July 28.