Talent shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice have always maintained a heavily emotional focus throughout their production and airing. The ‘family’ element is always a strong emphasis to drive forward to create both a sense of community and a deeper connection with the contestant who is pursuing their dreams or wanting to change their life. However, sometimes tragedy strikes in unexpected ways, and we must honor those who are sadly no longer with us.
This is the story of Dr. Brandon Rodgers, a family medicine doctor out of Portsmouth, Virginia, who went onto America’s Got Talent to sing and try out the competition. Tragically, he passed away in a traffic accident sometime after his audition, which shocked the nation as the news was released. It was clear that he was a passionate, loveable man with a lot of talent. However, the show decided to air his audition on TV to honor his memory and his family. Watch his audition in the video below:
What makes this video emotional to watch is that his audition is almost like any other, with a few introductory questions from Simon Cowell that reveal a little bit of Dr. Rodgers’ personality. Despite only being 29, he managed to get a Doctorate in family medicine, and he reveals that he performed for his patients from time to time. This showed what a kindhearted and dedicated man that Dr. Rodgers was and, despite the nerves, he put on a great performance for the crowd.
Dr. Rodgers did not pick an easy song to audition for in a fierce competition such as America’s Got Talent. As he began his cover of Stevie Wonder’s love classic “Ribbon in the Sky”, his nerves vanished and he started to lean into the song, taking hold of the microphone and taking control of his performance. Here we saw the potential star that Dr. Rodgers could have been. For comparison and appreciation of this song’s difficulty, listen to the original version of “Ribbon in the Sky” below:
Not only was Dr. Rodgers rewarded for his audition with a roar of applause, but he also received a standing ovation from the show’s toughest critic, Simon Cowell. The judge’s comments were nothing but positive about this promising young talent, with Heidi saying: “The doctor is really handsome, and the doctor can sing.” They saw the potential that this young man had, and the heart he had through his incredible profession. His performance makes his passing all the more emotional.
Dr. Brandon Rodgers began his desire to pursue medicine when he was just six years old after seeing doctors save his mother’s life after she was rushed to hospital. After school, he completed an internship at Southampton Hospital in 2016, further cementing his career as a doctor of family medicine. After using singing and making videos as a means to relieve stress, he decided to try out for America’s Got Talent before his unfortunate passing in June 2017.