America’s Got Talent: Ten Year Old Guitarist SLAYS with Heavy Metal Cover

Maya Neelakantan - America's Got Talent 2024
Pictured: Maya Neelakantan — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

America’s Got Talent Audition Preview – 10 Year old Guitarist SLAYS with Papa Roach cover

America’s Got Talent returns on Tuesday (June 25) after a week off for the NBC Olympic trials. A new auditions preview features a 10 year old guitarist from India, Maya Neelakantan.

The young musician plays traditional Indian music, but on the AGT stage she performs “Last Resort” by Papa Roach on electric guitar. She fires off fancy licks like a musician twice her age.

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Sofia Vergara said after the fiery performance, “Are you sure you’re 10 years old?” She added, “Your energy, your confidence–a perfect audition.”

Howie Mandel asked Maya about her inspirations on social media. She rattled off a few guitarists from heavy-hitting heavy metal bands, “One is Adam Jones from Tool,” she said, “And also Gary H who is the guitarist from Exodus and Slayer.” Howie responded, “I think you just picked yourself up a viral moment.”

“I think you are absolutely incredible,” said Heidi Klum, who called her “gutsy” and added, “Everyone in this room really love what you just did. You should be very, very proud of yourself.”

Simon Cowell guitar fail

Simon Cowell admitted that he was about Maya’s age when he tried to learn how to play a guitar. “It is one of the most difficult instruments in the world, so I gave up!” He added, “Actually, my teacher gave up on me!”

“We just weren’t expecting this,” said Simon. “You were so shy and you’re 10 and then you turned into this rock goddess.” He added, “This is…now the beginning of a career which I always say ‘make noise amongst the noise’ and you just did that.”

All four judges give Maya a yes!

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday on NBC at 8 pm ET/PT, streaming on Peacock next day.

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!