Audiences were stunned by the incredible performance of 19-year-old self-described outcast, Andrew DeLeon, when he auditioned for "America’s Got Talent" in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday.
Wearing a dark Gothic outfit and black makeup around his eyes, the judges and audience were likely prepared to discount the teenager as just another odd-looking contestant – until he began to sing.
Rather than choosing a song from pop culture as most ‘America’s Got Talent’ contestants, DeLeon shared his rendition of Puccini’s, "O Mio Babbino," from the opera "Gianni Schicchi."
To say that Andrew DeLeon’s performance was impressive is an understatement. The seamless melding of his fluid voice, symphonic music, and passionate expression, moved some listeners to tears.
The emotionally charged, minute-long performance ended with a standing ovation from both the judges and audience, with DeLeon eye’s welling-up more than once.
Andrew DeLeon said he never sang in front of anyone, including his parents, until Tuesday, when the world found out about the incredible talent he had been hiding in his room for years, where he had practiced his singing alone.
A self-described “Outsider,” Andrew DeLeon said he felt “alienated” for this entire life, and that “singing was always an escape" and “comfort zone” for him.
DeLeon’s Gothic look stemmed from his appreciation for the music of Marilyn Mason and Rob Zombie, as well as other Rock stars.
But there is more to the discovery of Andrew DeLeon’s hidden gift than the shock of hearing a perfectly tuned operatic voice coming from a professional make-up artist with a gloomy Gothic appearance.
At the end of his performance, audition Judge Howard Stern, asked DeLeon how he felt about his performance. And DeLeon replied, “I’m just so used to being rejected and I’m not really good at anything…this is amazing.”
Amazing indeed. There is no better example of how not to judge a book by its cover, than Andrew DeLeon’s audition for "America’s Got Talent." With his straight, shoulder-length pitch-black hair, and black circles drawn around his eyes, DeLeon effortlessly belted-out a flawless rendition of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino.”
After seeing Andrew DeLeon dispel everything that’s wrong with stereotyping based on appearance, one has to wonder how many other remarkably gifted people there are in America, hiding in their rooms, thinking that they are “not really good at anything."
Whether or not Andrew DeLeon ends up winning this year’s "America’s Got Talent" competition, he will become an icon for uncounted others, who, for some reason, grossly underestimate their value in a society that is becoming ever-more harsh toward individuals who think, look, or act differently than the frame the world tries to fit them into.
Watch the video of Andrew DeLeon on ‘America’s Got Talent’