A Christian contestant on “America’s Got Talent” has impressed the judges after smashing a rendition of the Lionel Ritchie classic “Hello.” Joseph O’Brien, a student at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky, showcased his keyboard and vocal talent, causing the crowd to jump to their feet and applaud.
“There’s so much potential of where you could go with your vocals … and I absolutely adore you,” judge Mel B. told him. “I absolutely loved it,” added judge Heidi Klum. O’Brien received a “Yes” from all four judges, meaning he will progress to the next round of competition. But while the competition is focused on nurturing commercial success stories, O’Brien’s motivation to perform comes from a deeply spiritual place.
“My goal is to write music that is centered around Scripture and inspires a generation to stand up for Jesus Christ!” he declares on his Facebook page. His father, Michael O’Brien, also happens to be a former member of the group “NewSong.”
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, told ChristianHeadlines that he was mightily impressed with the way O’Brien, one of his students, conducted himself during the audition. “I thought Joseph’s performance was fantastic,” Burk said. “He is a rare talent. His poise and good humor in the face of awkward questions from the judges was impressive. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The awkward questions Burk referenced were on O’Brien’s relationship status. “I don’t have a girlfriend,” he told Klum after being pressed for details on his love life. “I’ve actually been single my entire life. … I’ve actually never gone on a legit date or anything like that.”
“Really? But you’re a handsome fellow. How is that possible?” Klum continued. “I guess the right opportunity hasn’t come along,” O’Brien responded confidently.
Still, the supermodel persisted: “Have you ever kissed anyone?” she asked.
“No, I have not,” he replied.
Many of those reacting on social media were not best pleased with Klum interrogating the singer’s personal life before millions of viewers. “Poor kid getting the third degree because of his relationship status. Maybe he’s not looking for a partner, maybe he’s happy with the life the way it is,” one person wrote on Facebook. “It’s actually smart he hasn’t been on a date with a girl. Nothing to be ashamed of,” another added. “Why put him on the spot?”
“I’m glad you stopped by to check out my Facebook Page,” a message reads on O’Brien’s page. “Be looking for new music, videos, and content on the daily! Romans 8:28-30.”
The passage reads:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
May God bless this young man as he progresses in the competition!