21-year-old English talent Lee Collinson really put his heart on the line on America’s Got Talent with a gorgeous take on Dermot Kennedy’s “Better Days”. Collinson sang the uplifting R&B tune with a raw sincerity that won the hearts of everyone in the room, and by the looks of it the ladies in the audience were particularly captivated.
The English fencing labourer made his way to America for the first time in his life for the audition. Collinson is a real sweetheart and after charming the judges with a chat beforehand, he launched into the performance and straight away it was clear he was the real deal. Apart from having an incredible voice, he also communicated the story of the song in a really powerful way by opening up to the audience onstage with his gaze and body language.
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy wrote “Better Days” at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as an anthem of hope during those dark times. Collinson reflected on this before his performance, saying “I chose it because the recent times have been really tough for everyone, and it’s just saying that we’re going up now. It’s better to move on. I lost a friend during lockdown.”
It’s really not easy to take such a personal song and make it your own but Collinson did it so naturally, adding his own flavour to the song and emphasising the feelings behind the words. Later in the season, Collinson tried his hand at “Flowers” by Lauren Spencer-Smith, which again showcased his ability to take a less obvious song choice and really make it hit hard.
After the audition Howie Mandel had buckets of praise for the young gun, saying “People don’t understand the pressure that is felt when someone just walks out and stands on that stage. And then when you take somebody as young as you are – this is your first time in America – and for you to just take all that pressure and just explode it off your shoulders and raise the roof in this room is truly amazing.”
Heidi Klum thought that the young Brit had the full package, saying “I think that it was worth it going on the 14-hour plane ride to come here. I really liked it. You can sing, you look great, you have stage presence. You nailed it.” Sofía Vergara admitted that she was charmed by Collinson at first sight, saying “For some reason the moment you stood there and started talking, it was like ‘I love it.’ I know I’m gonna love it. I even told him ‘He has such a beautiful personality.’ I was really hoping that you had a great voice too, and it was amazing.”
The judges then gave Collinson four yes votes, sending the talented lad through to the next round. He then progressed to the semi-finals, where he was eliminated prior to making the cut to the top five. If you would like to see more from Lee Collinson, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Instagram.