Berklee College of Music student Kieran Rhodes is a self-taught musician who learned everything he knows about music from “watching YouTube videos.” As he explains to the “America’s Got Talent” judges during the June 21 episode, he was a baseball player who only became interested in music four years earlier when he saw clips of Billy Joel. “That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said at the time. During his “AGT” audition, Kieran sings Joel’s “She’s Got a Way,” but he only gets a couple of verses in when Simon Cowell holds up his hand to stop the performance. Uh-oh. Watch the “AGT” video above.
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“Okay, let me ask you a question, sorry,” Simon says as the audience boos for stopping the singer mid-performance. “Do you write your own songs?” When a visibly nervous Kieran responds to the affirmative, Simon asks, “Have you got one with you?”
Kieran reveals he wrote an original tune called “Disengage” the prior fall semester when he was going through some depression. “I wrote this song trying to get through that, and I hope that it can resonate with you,” he declares.
At the conclusion of Kieran’s emotional song, all four “AGT” judges give him a standing ovation, as does the studio audience. “I think we just witnessed something super special right now,” notes host Terry Crews from the sidelines. Here is what the panelists have to say about Kieran’s performance:
Sofia Vergara: “Spectacular. I loved it. I could hear you play and sing for hours. I was so happy. You’re so talented. You have youth, talent, you have it all.”
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Howie Mandel: “It was amazing. It was spectacular. I could feel the emotion. I could tell you’re nervous but you are a star, young man.”
Heidi Klum: “There is like a certain melancholy in your voice when you sing. It was beautiful. You know, you take it for granted when you see someone sing and play at the piano, but it’s so hard to do and you are so good at it. Wow.”
Simon Cowell: “Kieran, you’re a very, very, very interesting person. You’re very talented and from what you told us it sounds like people have been giving you a hard time. When I was starting off in the music business there were other kids and boys, they would taunt me because I was in the mail room and I didn’t have a college degree, but I just made my way through it. But it still is in my head now. And I think what you’re going through is not dissimilar. It plays on your mind, you get depressed, but I didn’t have the talent you’ve got.”
Simon concludes by saying he hopes this audition will change Kieran’s life. The judges then give him four “yes” votes, which means he’ll next be seen in the Judge Cuts round of “AGT” Season 17. Do YOU think Kieran has what it takes to win the entire show? Sound off down in the comments section.