“America’s Got Talent” had a breath of fresh air last Tuesday from two performers who proved age is just a number.
John Hetlinger, 82, shocked everyone with his rendition of Drowning Pool’s 2001 song “Bodies,” NPR reported. Simon Cowell looked skeptical as he walked onto the stage. Yet in the course of their chatter, Hetlinger revealed that there’s more to the octogenarian who took up karaoke after his retirement.
“Before you retired, what was your job?” Cowell asked. “The most recent one was aerospace engineering; I was blessed to be the program manager for the COSTAR instrument that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope,” Hetlinger said.
“Did you go to space?” Cowell asked. “I was a Navy pilot. That was far enough into space,” Hetlinger added. While both his answers left Cowell and everyone speechless with admiration, the best was yet to come as the “America’s Got Talent” hopeful called his audition as the “high point of his life and his many careers.” To which Cowell stated the show’s greater significance in over the Hubble Telescope and then bid Hetlinger luck.
Despite mixed reactions to his performance, Howie Mandel couldn’t resist the urge to give Hetlinger a standing ovation as he clearly brought the “surprise factor” the show is known for. However, it’s not known if the octogenarian went through to the next round. Nevertheless, he might be busy soon as Drowning Pool asked him to join them on stage, The Wrap reported. What are the odds he’d choose that over “America’s Got Talent?”
Another performer received the golden buzzer that night courtesy of Mandel. Moreover, she got some uncharacteristic praise from Simon Cowell. Twelve-year-old Grace VanderWaal stepped onto the stage carrying her ukulele. Right of the bat, the judges looked smitten by the young girl. Her poise endeared her to the crowd even more.
“Do you believe that you could win?” Cowell asked. “Well, I mean miracles can happen, so possibly,” VanderWaal replied. Her performance certainly brought the house down as she sang “I Don’t Know My Name,” which happens to be a song she wrote about herself. Hence, Cowell’s prediction could very well be in her future, Entertainment Weekly wrote.
“Grace, you know what I predict for you? I think you are the next Taylor Swift,” the publication quoted Cowell’s words. Her talent and disposition certainly call to mind images of the pop darling. VanderWaal expressed her gratitude later via Twitter, the publication revealed.
— Grace VanderWaal (@GraceVanderWaal) June 8, 2016
Watch the performances of John Hetlinger and Grace VanderWaal on “America’s Got Talent.”