So maybe you’re asking yourself.  Who’s Andrew De Leon?  Well, he’s a young man who appeared on America’s Got Talent the other night and “blew the roof off” when he sang the aria, O Mio Babbino Caro from Puccini’s opera, Gianni Schicchi.  To those people who like to judge books by their covers (remember Susan Boyle?), most of them would’ve dismissed Andrew before he opened his mouth because he’s got the whole Goth thing going.  Long straight black hair, black clothing, lots of eye makeup and freaky contact lenses.  But his performance was a big surprise!

What’s even more amazing is that Andrew is self taught, never had a single lesson, and never sang in front of another soul – including his own family.  But he took the plunge and sang in front of the three judges as well as a full house in Austin, TX and for a multi-million viewing television audience.  What a guy!

So, why am I writing about him?  I’m writing because I really don’t get why some people are so incredibly angry and ugly in what they have to say online about an unknown young man who goes on stage and sings before an audience on national television.

I took singing lessons because I really wanted to sing Doo Wop along with my CDs.  During that venture, my singing teacher had me branch out to operatic arias.  I enjoyed singing but couldn’t commit to the many hours of practice necessary to sing well.  I performed at two recitals with my teacher’s other students in front of a friendly audience consisting of my husband, my nephew, and the few family members of the other participants.  I got through my three songs but I was absolutely terrified.

So after the other night’s performance on AGT, the internet was buzzing about this guy and almost all the comments were positive.  But a few were not.  It never ceases to amaze me how some people just have to diminish someone’s accomplishments with vicious attacks.  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

The anonymous writer, who calls himself, “real opera judge,” responded to another commenter who thought Andrew was “talented” as follows:  “He talented????? really… with that imposted voice do u really think he was singing???? I’ll suggest you to go at least see one opera live in your life, and than come back and comment on his whatever opera singing… And he was not a bariton nor a tenor, nor a nothing,,,,”  (His precise words/grammar/spelling, not mine.)

I really wish “real opera judge” didn’t hide behind a fake name because I’d love to write directly to him:

First of all, “real opera judge,” Where did you study opera?  What exactly have you done in your life?  Do you actually sing?  Have you performed anywhere?  Do you have the guts to sing in front of millions of people?  How many operas have you been to?

Having been a season subscriber to the Seattle Opera for many years, I’ve seen dozens of operas.  These are seasoned professional artists who’ve taken thousands of hours of lessons, practiced even thousands of hours more, and have performed in front of probably hundreds of live audiences for years all over the world.  So I ask, how can you compare Andrew — a 19-year old guy who is self-taught, never had a singing lesson in his life, never sang in front of another soul (and that includes his own family) and practiced in his room — to a professional who’s made a career out of singing in languages other than his own with an incredibility ability memorize while acting?  It’s one thing if you don’t like Andrew’s style.  Fine.  But why so hateful?

I’ve never watched AGT and only tuned in this season because of Howard Stern.  I was immediately hooked.  I’ve become a huge fan of the show and love people with the guts to get up and perform.  I know I couldn’t do it.  I have no idea if Andrew will win because I don’t how the show works and how the winner is chosen.  I’ll just have to wait and watch as it all unfolds.

I’m happy to see Andrew has received the attention he deserves and that there are just a few malcontents out there who just can’t watch a talent show for what it is.  I guess some people aren’t happy unless they’re putting someone else down.

For me, I seldom cry at movies but music is a whole other thing.  I know what it takes to sing really well and appreciate all the hard work involved.  I judge a singer by how many goose bumps I get on my arms and whether I’m moved to tears when I listen to him.  Andrew did both for me.  I wish him the best of luck.

As to the haters out there, I don’t get it.






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