Hard-pressed to discover its own elusive Susan Boyle, America's Got Talent, some observers say, may have found what it's looking for in the person of an unemployed chicken-catcher from Mayfield, Kentucky.
Thirty-five-year-old Kevin Skinner strutted into the stage in a gray wool jacket and washed up jeans. In the introduction, he said he plays the guitar and writes songs. "In the country, things move just a little slower than they do in the big city. I'm a down home kind of country boy. I like hunting fish. It can get real interesting. It's nice to sit out on the porch. You know, a good place to gather all your thoughts and maybe even count some stars. When I go out on stage, I hope that the crowd will like what I'm doing."
When Skinner, his strong southern tongue drawing a few giggles from judge Sharon Osbourne, took the stage revealed that he was "a chicken-catcher for several years," the crowd roared in laughter. No one was laughing, however, when he started strumming his guitar and sang the first verses of When Tomorrow Never Comes. The crowd grew quiet, stunned, a silence that lasted throughout his a minute-and-a-half performance. When he finished, everyone in the live audience stood, including America's Got Talent judge David Hasselhoff.
Judge Piers Morgan, who witnessed Susan Boyle's breakthrough performance on Britain's Got Talent, was reminded of the way the British crowd underestimated the 47-year-old Boyle.
"There's a moment every season, I can remember them all, when somebody comes on stage dressed like you ... and you think this is going to be a total car crash, and then you start to sing, and in about 20 seconds, you had me. And by the end of it, that was one of the most emotional, powerful performances I've seen in a long time."