America’s Got Talent 2022 auditions return, after a July 4th week hiatus. That means that it’s time for an early audition release. The new clip features Ben Waites. The Southern gospel singer and vocal coach is originally from Louisiana but currently lives in Nashville.
Ben announces that he’ll be singing Cyndi Lauper’s classic “True Colors,” sharing that he chose the song because it speaks to everyone, no matter their age, race or background. “It’s able to communicate a message of hope,” he explained. The audition is a family affair: His wife, mother and grandmother accompanied him to Pasadena.
The performance is pretty great. He phrases the song creatively, carefully building an emotional arc with his vocals. It’s a lovely performance which moves Sofia Vergara, in particular. She’s up on her feet first, before Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell. Notable: The audition took place during Howie Mandel’s absence due to the judge testing positive for COVID-19.
Ben relies on a powered wheelchair to get around, but he doesn’t discuss his disability at all during the clip. According to his social media, the singer was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which binds him to a wheelchair. He posted an original song on Youtube titled “I Can’t Walk.” Although his disability is probably explained in a video package, or backstage with host Terry Crews, it’s refreshing that AGT presents him as a singer first and foremost.
America’s Got Talent airs on NBC, Tuesday July 12 at 8 pm. AGT has one more Golden Buzzer to give out–the Group Buzzer, which the show introduced last season.