Another season of America's Got Talent is underway, with a new host and two new judges on board. Only a couple of episodes have aired so far, but the competition is already fierce. The June 4 episode saw one competitor rise to the top and earn a golden buzzer for his efforts: 21-year-old singer/songwriter Joseph Allen.
Joseph Allen dazzled the judges with the performance of an original song, and judge Howie Mandel was so thrilled that he stood up on the table and stomped on the golden buzzer, sending Allen straight to the live shows. Simon Cowell noted that Allen got a standing ovation for "doing nothing" after walking out on stage but before beginning his performance.
The crowd in front of the stage went wild as soon as Joseph Allen walked out, and he was all smiles from that point onward. Allen chatted with CinemaBlend about his golden buzzer performance and the shock he felt when he saw the crowd. When I asked if the audience reaction helped him up on that stage, he said this:
I can't lie, the audience reaction made me feel right at home. At the college campus that I went to, I did performances pretty often, and the type of response I would get from the students in terms of support was something that I started to get accustomed to. So to walk out on that stage and then randomly see all of those students... It was definitely something that made me feel comfortable because it made me feel at home.
Joseph Allen goes to school in Arizona, and a little bit of that school came to Los Angeles to watch him perform for the first time on America's Got Talent. The wild reaction of the crowd as soon as they saw Allen on stage clearly hyped the judges, to the point that Simon Cowell wasn't entirely sure that the situation was serious. As he would see once Allen started his original song, he's very serious as a performance artist.
It can be pretty easy to tell sometimes when competitors aren't comfortable on the big America's Got Talent stage. The overwhelming support from the audience made Joseph Allen feel "at home," and that really showed in his performance. He looked as at ease as one can look while also being incredibly excited, and nerves didn't get the best of him.
For folks who watched America's Got Talent from home, it may have seemed like Joseph Allen recruited a bunch of his friends to attend the taping as moral support, along with the family who were there for him. Allen went on to explain that he had no idea he could expect a cheering section in the crowd:
That's something that I don't think a lot of people understand. This was recorded during my spring break, and it was like all of those students just randomly decided that they wanted to see a taping of America's Got Talent for spring break. They taped multiple days. It was just so random that on the day... I didn't even know which audition I was going to be in until the day of. They said you're going to be performing at this time, and the fact that the time I performed was at the same time that all of those students were there. Like, it was weird. And then the fact that they were up front. The whole works of it was like it had to be divine intervention. It was super weird. So that's why I reacted the way I did on television. It was honestly something that just threw me for a loop. When I saw all those students recognize me.
That had to be the best kind of shock! Joseph Allen had no inkling that a bunch of students from his college would be present at his taping, and definitely not up in the front. If they'd been scattered throughout the audience, viewers might not have gotten to see the judges' epic reactions to the sudden roar of support or the performer recognizing them. It threw him "for a loop," but not in a way that threw him off his game! The golden buzzer is proof of that.
That golden buzzer guarantees that Joseph Allen has a slot in the live shows, which means that he has some time to decide what he wants to do and whether that means another original song. A longtime fan of America's Got Talent, he revealed that he intends to keep watching the show even as he waits to return to the stage. When we spoke, he hadn't yet decided on exactly what he'd have in store.
Whatever he does will undoubtedly be watched by a lot of people. America's Got Talent has a loyal following, so all the competitors perform in front of millions of people watching from home on top of all the people present to watch the taping. When I asked if the popularity of America's Got Talent was on his mind when he took the stage, Joseph Allen told me this:
Actually it was not. When I was performing there, I was mainly focusing on performing for everyone who was at the venue. And it was only when I was done, Gabrielle Union had mentioned to me that there are millions of people who just viewed you. And when she made that statement, oh my goodness. That brought me back to reality and understanding it's not just everyone at this venue, but everyone at this venue plays a small part in really how many people are going to see this thing. I got snapped back into reality really quick after I was done performing.
Both new judges seemed especially affected by the performance, with Gabrielle Union raving about all the people who had watched his song and Julianne Hough tearing up from all the emotion. Of course, those reactions were nothing compared to Howie Mandel literally stomping on the golden buzzer to send Joseph Allen through to the live shows. Not all competitors draw the a positive reaction from all four judges, but Allen pulled it off.
In case you missed the performance or are just in the mood for a rewatch, take a look!
Joseph Allen won't be back as an America's Got Talent performer until the live shows, but there are still going to be plenty of acts worth watching.