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Mariandrea Villegas has talent and showmanship beyond her years.

Dance is a unique art form in that the medium it utilizes is the human body itself. Simply through purposeful and graceful control of movement, dancers can express and evoke joy, sadness, fear, confusion—the whole range of human emotion. And when dancing is done well, it's utterly mesmerizing.

Such is the case with Mariandrea, a 14-year-old from Mexico who auditioned for America's Got Talent in July of 2023 and wowed both the judges and the audience with her dance performance. She has been dancing since she was 5, and as Simon Cowell pointed out, it's clear that she was born to do this.

After showing off her sparkling personality during the pre-performance interview, Mariandrea danced to a cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World," personifying the song in her performance. But it wasn't just her intentional movement that reflected the emotional complexity of the ever-popular hit. Her facial expressions, ranging from subtle fear to a clown-like smile to genuine sorrow to angry defiance, change on a dime, adding an acting element to her routine that takes it to the next level.


Add in the incredible control she has of her body as it twists and turns and seems to defy gravity, both gracefully flowing and disturbingly contorting, and it's easy to see why she earned a standing ovation and enthusiastic praise from all four judges.

Watch:

For someone so young to have such a strong grasp of her craft is quite extraordinary, and people were wowed by her talent as well as her showmanship.

"I had to watch this more than once. Her smile, energy, and face reminds me of a young Natalie Portman. You can tell she is more than a dancer also, very intelligent, expressive, talented, yes acting too. Wow! Congratulations!" shared one commenter.

"This young lady has a very bright future ahead of her! The passion that she emanated while dancing was above and beyond what we have seen in half the dancers that are older than her... Can't wait to see what she does next!!!" wrote another.

"Stunned. I would have given her a golden buzzer. The sharpness, flexibility, timing, theatrics, and costume use. 10/10," shared another.

One commenter pointed out that her dance felt like a monologue, and another person called it "absolute art." Many people expressed disappointment that she didn't receive the Golden Buzzer, which would propel her immediately to the final round. But if her other performances are anything like this one, she's got a pretty decent chance of making it to the finals without it.


This article originally appeared on 9.18.23

Pop Culture

Brazilian singer stuns 'America's Got Talent' crowd with perfect Whitney Houston cover

"If Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey had a baby, it would be Gabriel."

America's Got Talent/YouTube

Talk about the voice of an angel.

When crisp, clear, so-high-they-might-reach-heaven notes are sung well, it feels like an otherworldly event. And when a guy is able to pull it off…whoa.

But Brazilian singer Gabriel Henrique made it all look so easy during his performance of Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” for “America’s Got Talent.”

It feels safe to say that you better be prepared to deliver if you pick a song made famous by someone dubbed “The Voice,” and Henrique certainly did, leaving both the judges and the crowd completely stunned.


Despite being a little shy at first (plus there was a small language barrier—this was Henrique’s first time in the United States and he had a translator come up on stage with him to make introductions), once he showed off his angelic tenor tone, all bets were off. And then those high notes…holy moly.

"If Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey had a baby, it would be Gabriel!" proclaimed judge Heidi Klum. After picking her jaw off the floor, that is.

The other judges shared the same enthusiasm for the male pop diva. Sofia Vergara called his audition the moment she had “been waiting for” before granting him a Golden Buzzer.

Watch, and be amazed:

For the millions of fans who already follow Henrique online, his ace of an audition comes as no surprise. He’s certainly no stranger to American music, covering several other Whitney Houston songs, as well as other high-note icons like Christina Aguilera, Minnie Riperton and Celine Dion.

Just goes to show that music is a universal language. And Henrique’s incredible voice speaks directly to our heartstrings.

Pop Culture

Guy shows off unreal drumming skills during mesmerizing 'AGT' audition

The rhythm, the energy, the smile. No wonder one judge called it "the perfect audition."

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Gotta love a good drum solo.

Few instruments in this world are as universally loved as the drums. For thousands of years, humans in virtually every culture have used drums to raise energy, be it for ceremonial purposes or good old-fashioned celebration. I mean, have you ever listened to a really bangin’ drum solo and not been immediately revved up? It’s pretty much impossible.

So when a masterful drum player aces an instrument that already gives such a visceral experience, you know you’re in for one hell of an auditory ride. Twenty-six-year-old Timothy Fletcher gave “America’s Got Talent” audiences just that.


Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, and armed with only a single drum, Fletcher mesmerized the crowd with a personality-filled hip-hop routine that not only had a fantastic array of rhythms, but fun dance moves and impressive tricks. It really was a whole show in itself.

Watch:

Fletcher shared with the judges that he started playing drums in high school, but stopped. However, he took up the passion once again thanks to the encouragement of a friend who said he had a gift with the instrument, even predicting that one day he would be on the “AGT” stage.

After that friend was tragically killed, Fletcher decided to really take that message to heart by sharing his gift with the world. And yes, coming to compete for the winning title.

Fletcher is clearly well on his way to doing so, earning an enthusiastic “yes” vote from all four judges. Heidi Klum called it a “perfect first audition.”

We don’t always see our talents for the gifts that they are. But that changes when we receive support from a loved one. Their affirmation can carry us to surprising, exciting and wondrous places even after they’re gone. Love really is a magical thing.

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Sounds like they'll go far

Remember the wholesome, joy-filled days of singing families a la The Brady Bunch or the The Osmunds? Well, the Sharpe Family Singers might have just incited a comeback.

Hailing from New Jersey, the vocal group is made up of mom and dad Ron and Barbra along with their four kids: Samantha, Logan and twins (yes, twins) Connor and Aidan.

The Sharpe’s already have a huge following on TikTok and Youtube, where they go all out to perform covers of well known pop songs. We’re talking full costumes and everything. Each video is a cheesy, harmony-filled masterpiece.


And now, after their mesmerizing audition for “America’s Got Talent” on June 27, it looks like they’re gonna have even more loyal fans.

Even before signing, the Sharpes stole the hearts of judges with their sweet story. Ron and Barbra had actually met on the very same “AGT” stage years ago, where they shared their first kiss in a show. As Howie Mandel joked, things went “from production to reproduction,” hence their four children.

What’s more, Ron told the audience that each kid grew up actually wanting to be part of the group. “Hey if you wanna hang out with your parents, that’s pretty cool.” How cute is that?

Then they proceed to blow the roof off the place with a cover of “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s “Moana.”

Behold:

While eldest child Samantha (who had auditioned for “American Idol” back in 2021) had an impressive solo, the entire family unit was incredible to watch…so sayeth folks from the Youtube comments.

One person wrote, “That was everything that song needed to be. Thank you! Great energy, beautiful harmonies, and really fun and uplifting.From the beautiful earthy warm honey tones of the young man's first solo line, the compelling solos of the oldest sister to the twins at the end, they sold that song and created magic for the audience.”

The sentiment was shared by the judges, from Simon Cowell who called the act “as American as apple pie” to Heidi Klum who told the Sharpes “I would love nothing more than to do this with my entire family.”


It’s clear that what’s even more inspiring about this family than their god given talent is how much pure joy they have performing with one another. And if you’re jonesing for more Sharpe family content, you can find it here and here.