Friday, June 8, 2012

I Love the Goth Opera Singer

When I watched "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night, I knew as soon as I saw it that Andrew De Leon's performance would instantly become a viral hit on this here Internet thingy.

Sure enough, he's all over the place. The show was still in its audition mode this week, and they saved De Leon for the end of the broadcast, because he had the most dramatic effect. (AGT loves its kickers!)

Anyway, De Leon, 19, is a classic goth, channeling Marilyn Manson with his black clothes, black eye makeup and weird contact lenses. Hey, fine. everybody's got their style. He's cool.

He announced he was going to sing, so I figured it would be some dark feedbacky grunge thing.  You knew he would be good, since it was the end of the show and they wanted people to leave happy, despite De Leon's protestations that he never sang in front of anybody, even his own parents.

He belted out a beautiful opera rendition, to create the classic "don't judge the book by the cover"  moment. He's already being called the Goth Susan Boyle. (Boyle is the famous singer who appeared as the frumpy, awkward middle aged woman a few years ago on "Britain's Got Talent" who wowed the world and went on to fame and fortune. )

AGT is a sucker for these surprising moments, but I'm a sucker who loves to watch them. The seven minute video is worth watching, for sure, so do so here. More commentary below the video:

Somehow I doubt the story that De Leon's parents never heard him sing. How could they not know what he was up to?  When he was practicing his singing, and he had to practice A LOT to be that good, that makes noise. Much more noise than the negative things that some youths do in secret, like drugs or unprotected sex,

But that doesn't matter. He clearly has some self esteem issues, because he kept saying he wasn't good at anything and is an outcast.  "I'm just so used to being rejected and I'm not really good at anything," he said.

 I don't know De Leon, obviously, but he seems like a nice enough kid. And as judge Howie Mandel said, he is a great singer. So I think it's safe to say we all respectfully disagree with De Leon's contention that he's not good at anything.

He might not win AGT this season, but so what? He certainly has a lot of people's attention, and I'm sure talent scouts and record company executives are taking notice, writing memos, salivating.

In fact, I think he won't win, if AGT wants to vary its story line. The 2011 AGT winner, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. was in the same boat as De Leon. He was a carwash employee from West Virgina who looked a bit disheveled, but wowed everyone with his Sinatra-like crooning. The unlikely man conquers the unlikely.

Then again, a lot of the influence of who wins depends on audience votes, so De Leon might go all the way.

I always wonder what happens to people like this when lightning strikes, as has happened to De Leon. Susan Boyle seems to be doing OK.

I worry though. I wish De Leon all the success in the world, he deserves it. But, I know I'm being too patronizing and paternalistic here, I  hope the success that comes to him doesn't somehow crush him.

He's got a hurricane coming at him. Everybody will want a piece of him. That's the negative way of putting. The positive way of putting it is he's going to gain a helluva a lot of fans.

De Leon will either ride the hurricane out and conquer it, or it will drown him. Let's just cheer him on, so he rides the happy storm out.

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