‘America’s Got Talent’: Watch Sofia Vergara Break Down in Tears After Emotional Audition

by Suzanne Halliburton

This is why you watch America’s Got Talent. Sure, the singers, dancers, acrobats and magicians are cool to watch. But it’s hard to beat the performance Tuesday night by Ben Waites.

He’s the self-described southern gospel singer and vocal coach who wowed in his audition for America’s Got Talent. Waites sang “True Colors” during his tryout, which aired Tuesday night. Cyndi Lauper’s more famous version was big and bold when she released the song in 1986. Waites’ performance was quiet, as if he was speaking, not singing, directly to your heart. The version was both soothing and soulful.

No wonder America’s Got Talent judge Sofia Vergara blinked back tears. She also was the first judge to jump up with the rest of the audience to give Waites an extended standing ovation. Watch his performance and join us on the other side for more information about this amazing singer.

So why did a gospel singer like Waites decide on this 1980s pop song to introduce himself to America’s Got Talent?

Waites told Vergara, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell that it was about the message.

“I feel (the song) is able to speak to people, no matter their age, their race, their background,” Waites said. “It’s able to communicate a message of hope.”

He brought the most important women in his life to the auditions. His wife of four years waited in the wings while his mother and grandmother watched from the audience. Here’s betting they gave Ben a standing O, too, with everyone else. The judges asked Waites if his vocal students back in Nashville knew about his audition.

“In that time with them, it’s all about them,” Waites told the AGT crew.

This wasn’t Waites’ first time singing for America’s Got Talent. When he was in college, he tried out for the show, but didn’t get very far. This time, AGT reached out to him after seeing him on social media. And this time, he received a unanimous yes to move on to the next round.

“I sang a new song at a church and someone videoed me, and they put it on TikTok,” Waite said in an interview. “I don’t even have a TikTok account. And they got like 600,000 views in 24 hours. And then a week later, AGT reached out to me, and said, ‘Hey, we would love if you’d consider auditioning this year for the show.’

“I told my wife, my grandmother, my mom, I told all three of them, I said, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this,” he said. “I don’t know if this is the approach I want to go through or.’ And they all three said, ‘You have been wanting a broader audience to get your message out to. Why not take this opportunity? Why not take this chance to just do it, go for it?’”

Waites relies on a wheelchair to get around. He was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. But nothing impacted his pure, beautiful, authentic voice.

After America’s Got Talent broadcast Waites’ performance, Vergara posted on Twitter that it’s one of her “favorite” auditions, ever. And Waites tweeted back “Wow!!!! You guys are blowing my phone up! I am blessed and honored. Thank you.”