Once again, “America’s Got Talent”, like its predecessor “Britain’s Got Talent”, is hitting us over the head with the uplifting stories of people who look like schlubs knocking our socks off with big, operatic voices.
But is there a market for Opera Singers?
This week, AGT featured not one, but two, bring the tear moments featuring average Joes with above average voices.
First up, we have Travis Pratt, an average looking guy from Georgia, who wowed us with his ability to hit the high notes. And he then hits an emotional high note moments after finishing his song.
And then that was followed up moments later by Jonathon Allan from Tennessee, who’s back story brought tears to everyone’s eyes, including his own. And of course, he then knocked the ball out of the park with his emotional turn on “Time To Say Goodbye”.
While these stories provide massive viral video numbers, a reader on my Facebook page asked a very pertinent question: What is the relevance of someone who can sing opera, in today’s entertainment market? Will it draw big crowds to Vegas?
So I decided to check on a few of the past champions of the unexpected operatic voice from both BGT and AGT to see how they were doing.
1. Susan Boyle. The Scottish recluse first wowed the audience during the auditions for BGT back in 2009 with her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”. She wound up second on the competition, and her debut album, “I Dreamed A Dream” is the highest selling debut album ever in Great Britain. Despite some stage fright issues and having a hard time adjusting to the public eye, Boyle is worth an estimated 38 million dollars. So I guess it worked out pretty good for her.
2. Paul Potts. Paul was the original “schlub who can sing” when he won “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007. The Welch cell phone salesman shuffled on stage and stumbled through a brief interview with the judges, who were left stunned when Potts brought the house down in Cardiff with his booming version of the operatic classic, “Nessum Dorma”. Although it subsequently turned out that Potts was professionally trained, and just hadn’t had a break, his career continues to provide him a substantial living. Potts’ debut album, “One Chance” shot to number one in 2008, and he now performs internationally as a headlining act. He’s no longer schlubby either, having trimmed down, and he performs in tailored suits.
3. Jackie Evancho. The then ten year old from Pittsburgh amazed the audience at the “America’s Got Talent” auditions with her angelic vocal on “Pie Jesu”. She wound up finishing second on the show that season, but her career took off from there. A Holiday release of “O Holy Night” shot up the charts and she has put out five albums to date. More importantly, she has been touring almost non-stop since the show, and already is booked solid at mid-sized venues throughout the summer. She has also filmed two highly rated PBS specials, and was the youngest person ever to give a solo concert at New York’s fabled Lincoln Center.
4. Andrew DeLeon. The goth-dressed lad with the scary light blue contact lenses that made him appear spooky, astonished the crowd at the Austin TX audition for AGT last season (2012) with his unique take on the classic aria, “O Mio Babbino Caro”. An admitted fan of Marilyn Manson, Andrew failed to garner audience support, and although kept alive by being the wild card choice of Howie Mandel, DeLeon was eliminated at the first semi-final. Although his career has failed to take off as of yet, Andrew continues to release music via his YouTube channel, and according to this article, is set to release a solo album this year.
So, I guess the answer to “Is there a market for that opera singing crap”? is Yup. Big Time.