America's Got Talent: Goth Opera Singer Andrew De Leon Wows Judges
06/06/2012 AT 09:30 AM EDT
Talk about unexpected!
When Andrew De Leon walked out onto the stage in Austin, Texas, for his America's Got Talent audition Tuesday, his goth appearance – long black hair, dark eye makeup, Marilyn Manson-esque contacts and black clothes – initially drew smirks from the judges.
"Growing up, I was alienated because I was never interested in athletics or what everybody else in my family was interested in," a visibly nervous De Leon, 19, told host Nick Cannon, who addressed him as "Criss Angel" during an interview before the audition. "Singing was always an escape. It was always a comfort zone."
And he has a right to be comfortable with it. When De Leon opened his mouth to offer a note-perfect opera performance, the judges went from being skeptical to blown away. And the audience, which included De Leon's parents, roared.
But that was only the first surprise. "I've never performed in front of anybody," revealed De Leon, who says he's self-taught and has only performed in his bedroom.
"I'm just so used to being rejected, and I'm not really good at anything, so this is amazing," De Leon told judge Howard Stern about the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the his first live crowd.
That's about to change drastically, as De Leon received approval from all three judges and will move on to the next round in Las Vegas.
"It's not that you're good at anything," judge Howie Mandel told him. "You are great."