Editor’s note: See Amanda’s response to Heidi’s red X.
A 19-year old dancer from Fort Collins, Colorado surprised the audience on Tuesday’s third episode of “America’s Got Talent” with an inspirational, heartfelt and hard-hitting routine. Prior to her performance, Amanda LaCount told judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel that she’d been told her whole life she’s too big to dance and she didn’t have the right body type. Simon advised Amanda to tell those people to “shut up” because “they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Next, Amanda wowed viewers with a fun performance to Todrick Hall‘s “Nails, Hair, Hips Heels.” Watch her audition video above.
“I started dance when I was two years old,” Amanda told the camera. “My mom would take me to the dance studio and as soon as I got in there I fell in love with it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a bigger girl. Growing up I didn’t think there was any problem with it. I just saw it as, we’re all unique in our own way. It wasn’t until I was eight or nine that I started noticing people were looking at me weird or talking about me behind my back. I went to a studio and the studio came up to my mom and I and said, ‘I’m sorry but Amanda’s body type doesn’t fit my team.’ I just fell to the floor crying. I felt worthless.”
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During her performance, Amanda strutted across the stage before throwing off her coat and displaying some sassy, hip-shaking moves. Sofia particularly loved the expression and animation in Amanda’s face while she danced. Simon loved the performance, but Heidi was so disinterested she hit her red X. Howie called her “athletic” and “inspiring” but didn’t think she could win the show.
“I just don’t think it’s a million dollar act,” Heidi said as boos from the audience filled the theater. Simon disagreed with the supermodel and he had the audience on his side. “I’m going to be honest with you,” said the British mogul. “I loved every moment of the audition. Your joy and enthusiasm were so contagious. You’re memorable. And I would like to see where you progress.” Next Simon and Sofia gave Amanda their stamp of approval for the dancer to move forward, but Heidi held firm that it was a “no” from her. Howie wasn’t sure what to think, but after Simon rallied the audience in support of Amanda, the Canadian comic finally gave her a third “yes” so she could advance to the next round.
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“I represent the people that feel like they’re not heard,” Amanda said. “That feel like they’re not seen. I want to help make them feel beautiful and powerful.” And despite two judges not believing in her, Amanda wasn’t swayed. “As long as I have the audience approval, that’s what makes my heart the happiest.”