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.
It's not easy being a judge on America's Got Talent.
Howard Stern, who joined the panel alongside Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel for the show's new season, found that out the hard way when he buzzed a 7-year-old rapper named Mir Money.
After the Philadelphia student took the stage and had the crowd cheering along to his song, Stern hit his X button ("I think the X has a lot of power," he said in the season premiere. "I like hitting it"), before Osbourne followed suit.
"You're a very nice young man and you know that. No one likes hitting the X on a 7-year-old. You're very brave to get up there at 7 years old," Stern said, as Money started to cry.
Night two of America's Got Talent took the search for performers to San Francisco, where the judges – including newcomer Howard Stern – discovered a rapping 80-year-old grandmother known as Granny G.
"I caught the entertainment bug when I was a little girl, like four years old. But things get in your way like marriage and children and you wake up one day and you think, 'My life has passed me by!' " she said before her audition. "I never thought that I would have this wonderful opportunity. ... It would be the fulfillment of all my dreams. I want to be a star."
Taking the stage in a pink dress, pearls and a walker, she performed a rap about family values, dedicated to "all you horny boys out there." (Watch a clip above.)
Howard Stern made his debut on America's Got Talent Monday night, taking a seat next to Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel on the show's seventh season premiere.
"These executives at NBC must be out of their mind to take a risk on me," he said at the top of the hour. But in fact, the radio shock jock showed a lot of heart and proved he's got talent – for judging!
When the Light Wire Theater group performed a dance routine featuring glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs, Stern, who pointed out earlier in the night that he was the only American on the panel, had a moment of patriotism. "We are the greatest country in the world. We have the most creative people. You're everything that makes America great," he told the dancers. "I applaud your originality and I thank you for lifting everyone's spirit."
It was a sight you don't see every day: Howard Stern, sitting on Matt Lauer's lap with his arms around the Today host, and pressing his lips against Matt's cheek.
For his part, Lauer was smiling ear to ear.
It all started at the end of an interview Thursday in which Stern mostly discussed his role as a judge on the new season of NBC's America's Got Talent, which debuts Monday. After also analyzing his contract disagreement with Sirius Radio, Stern started to say something personal as Lauer tried to wrap up the segment.
Jugglers, singers, magicians and dancers – get ready to face Howard Stern.
The shock jock radio and TV star will serve as a judge on season 7 of America's Got Talent, NBC announced Thursday.
"Howard Stern's larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to America's Got Talent starting this summer," NBC's Paul Telegdy said in a statement. "He's a proven innovator and his track record in broadcasting is truly remarkable. Howard is very passionate about this show and is fully committed to its future success."
America still has talent, but now it's missing a judge.
Piers Morgan is leaving NBC's America's Got Talent after six seasons, he announced Wednesday night, saying his schedule had become too hectic since he began hosting a nightly talk show, Piers Morgan Tonight, on CNN this past January.
"Turned out that juggling's harder than it looks, so I'm going to focus on CNN," he wrote on Twitter.
America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. never doubted his talent or passion. But it was life's obstacles that gave the Season 6 champ reason to believe his dreams wouldn't come true.
Homeless at 19 and working as a West Virginia car-washer to provide for his family just prior to competing on the show, Murphy, now 37, says becoming an overnight star is surreal.
"It's beyond belief," the Frank Sinatra-sound-alike jazz singer told PEOPLE alongside his teary-eyed wife on Wednesday night shortly after winning $1 million and his own headlining act in Las Vegas. "Is this really happening? I'm standing on a red carpet taking pictures. It feels wonderful."
America's Got Talent came down to an eclectic mix of four acts Wednesday night to win $1 million and their own headlining Las Vegas act.
Was it singing jazz sensation Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., who recently told PEOPLE he is "the one to beat?" Or glow-in-the-dark dancers Team iLuminate? Or consistent fan favorites, Silhouettes? Or underdog music group Poplyfe?
Read on to find the Season 6 winner of the Nick Cannon-hosted show.
America is going to have a tough time voting for their favorite act after a nearly flawless night of performances on Tuesday's America's Got Talent.
The show's finals round – which featured routines by Season 6's remaining competitors: Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Team iLuminate, Poplyfe and Silhouettes – even had typically hard-headed judge Piers Morgan raving that "everyone in the top four is a winner."
The night began with another crowd-pleaser from season frontrunner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. The car washer-turned-jazz musician's rendition of Frank Sinatra's classic tune "My Way" was "a $1 million performance," according to Morgan.