Australian singer Sheldon Riley has received a standing ovation from Simon Cowell after a performance of Loreen’s Eurovision track on America’s Got Talent.
The queer Sydney performer has showed off his amazing voice on a number of TV talent shows. Among them is the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy in 2022.
In 2020, the 24-year-old singer first performed on America’s Got Talent.
Now Sheldon has returned to Los Angeles to compete in the new series America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League.
The all-stars spinoff gives former AGT finalists and fan favourites a second chance at a win.
Invited back by Simon Cowell and mentored by Mel B, this week Sheldon performed Loreen’s 2023 Eurovision-winning song Tattoo.
He got a standing ovation from judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel. He’s made it through to the semi-final.
After Sheldon’s performance, Howie Mandel said he was “blown away”.
Heidi Klum told him, “You look gorgeous. You did a very beautiful rendition of that song. You nailed it. I loved it.”
Simon Cowell also said he was thrilled to have Sheldon return to AGT because he believes the singer has “unfinished business”.
“Your voice is so distinct and you’re a proper, what I would call, frontman singer,” Simon said.
“So congratulations and welcome back.”
Sheldon Riley reflects on first AGT stint in 2020
On the show, Sheldon met with Mel B and flashed back to his successful first audition in 2020.
That season, the singer took to the stage silently before performing a Billie Eilish song.
Sheldon recalled the warm response he got from the judges was so “validating” after a long personal struggle with self-acceptance.
“I’ve always had a passion for music and performing but I hated the way that I look,” he said.
“This whole concept of the mask happened. I would mask my face so I’d still be able to do what I love to do.”
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Unfortunately, the pandemic closed borders and meant Sheldon had to perform remotely from Australia. He missed out on a semi-final spot that season.
“It was heartbreaking because I was on such a roll,” he said.
“I felt like I was finding myself through this show and it just halted.”
Sheldon said it was an honour to return to the show and bring Loreen’s winning Eurovision song to the US audience.
“I wanted to bring some Eurovision magic and show a side to me, the performer and creative, that I’ve kept concealed,” he said.
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