From Susan Boyle to Jonathan Antoine, unexpected greatness has been a part of reality television and talent shows. It was no different when shy 19-year-old make-up artist Andrew De Leon, pulling off the goth look to a T in all-black clothing, black eyeliner and pale contacts, dazzled the America's Got Talent crowd and audience last night, bringing girls to tears as he sang, of all genres, opera.
What makes Andrew De Leon's performance, which can be viewed in the video below, even more remarkable is that Tuesday's America's Got Talent marked the first time the shy and unconfident teen performed in front of anyone.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and all these different rock stars. They really became an escape for someone like me, who felt that I was an outsider, he told the America's Got Talent cameras in his pre-performance interview as Ozzy Osbourne's Dreamer played in the background. Growing up, I was alienated because I was never interested in athletics or what everybody else in my family was interested in.
Andrew said singing was always an escape for him.
Being on 'America's Got Talent' is a huge step for someone like me, who's never sang in public before, never sang even in front of my family, he said.
The 19-year-old make-up artist said he believed his appearance on America's Got Talent would help him get out of his shell.
I think my days of being shy and being an outcast have reached their end, and I'd like to be able to really show what I can do, Andrew De Leon said.
As the first notes of Andrew's song played, judge Howie Mandel gave a look of incredulity, not being able to believe that a teenager with a goth look was about to pull off opera.
But within seconds, it was apparent that Andrew had the talent that the show was seeking, as NBC panned to views of girls with tears in their eyes from Andrew's singing.
That dude got talent! exclaimed America's Got Talent host Nick Cannon. That's talent.
Andrew's performance not only blew everyone away. He was taken aback by the reaction.
I'm just so used to being rejected and I'm not really good at anything, so this is amazing, he gleamed.
Judge Howard Stern could not get over that Andrew was self-taught or that the teen never shared his gift with others.
And yet you got up here and blew the roof off in the joint, Stern said. Good for you.
Judge Sharon Osbourne asked Andrew De Leon what do his parents think of his voice.
They never heard me sing either, he replied.
They must be so proud of you, and please don't say you're not good at anything because you've got an amazing voice and you are an individual, Osbourne advised.
Mandel encouraged Andrew, who will be moving on to the show's next stage in Las Vegas, to continue pursuing his talent.
You've been hiding in your room all these years but you never let the world see who you are or what you are, and it's not that your good at anything, you are great, Mandel said.