It’s that time of year again – time to admit that I watch America’s Got Talent faithfully all summer long. When I am traveling or unable to watch it live I DVR it. I don’t want to miss a single zany, heart-touching moment.
I have been catching up on my America’s Got Talent episodes after being in Maryland last week. Now that I am caught up on the episodes I can join in the chorus of amazement at the talent of the quiet 19 year old makeup artist that sports a gothic look – Andrew De Leon.
Andrew’s story is this – he never sang in front of anyone (including his parents) before he auditioned for America’s Got Talent. Honestly, I expected a train wreck when they started showing the clip about him. I started to prepare myself to be irritated that the show might make this quiet kid (who already seems to have lived a fairly isolated life as a self-identified outsider) feel like he wasn’t good enough. When Andrew arrived on stage it was clear he was nervous. I was nervous too – for Andrew.
After a brief discussion with Howard Stern, Andrew began to sing. Almost immediately jaws dropped. You see, Andrew sings opera. He is, in a word – amazing.
If you have ever been told you are not good enough and made to feel like you don’t belong – well, I have a hero for you. Meet Andrew De Leon and recognize that freedom of expression in the way we look or think is what creates a dynamic society. Watch Andrew’s audition – I promise you, it will move you.
This is why I watch America’s Got Talent faithfully. The show is an avenue for folks like Andrew to rise beyond the cookie cutter expectations society may place on them; and, a reminder to the rest of us to applaud and embrace difference for the wonderful gifts it offers.
Vive la différence Andrew!
Day one thousand and seventy-four of the new forty – obla di obla da