America’s Got Talent: The Next Susan Boyle?

07/16/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT

It's an America's Got Talent adage: frumpy often means "diamond in the rough."

And Wednesday's episode proved it to be true when homely radiology tech named Kari Callin from Seattle pulled the classic Susan Boyle move.

Saying sheepishly that she'd only ever been hired to sing professionally for a cruise -- and that a manager fired her immediately because of her looks -- Callin took the stage with thinning hair and a red sweater. The audience was put to silence, though, when Callin belted out a bravado performance worthy of opera singer. She sounded like a princess from a Disney movie -- only in baggy jeans and white sneakers. "I can sing," Callin said with a laugh after revealing that she'd had a cleft palate as a kid.

With audience members in tears, David Hasselhoff rubbed Sharon Osbourne's shoulders as the judges encouraged her not to look back at the bad experience with regret. She could make $40,000 a night, they said, and she should demand that kind of money from cruise ship talent bookers.



Recounting her life, Kari said she'd never had a boyfriend or serious relationship and has had her heart set on becoming a professional singer since she was a little girl. Her cleft, she felt, had gotten in the way of her wanting to become a singer because she felt would say she had something to prove.

Piers Morgan reminded to judge contestants by their talent -- and Kari had an amazing voice.

It would be remiss not to mention the foot-slicing antics of Matt the Indestructible Man, who climbed a ladder of swords without his chopping himself into bits like a head of lettuce. Salud! -- Nicholas White

Tell us: Could Kari Callin be the next Susan Boyle? Who was your favorite performer of the night?

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