EXCLUSIVE | America's Got Talent's Brandon Leake wanted BLM act to inspire people, calls show 'dream come true'
As Season 15 of 'America's Got Talent' steadily reaches the end, we spoke to the contestants about their journeys so far and what they're all looking forward to as the finale approaches.
Speaking to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), spoken word artist Brandon Leake, who advanced to the next round since the interview was conducted, said that the opportunity to perform on the stage of 'America's Got Talent' has been the most unique experience. Leake, whose performances have moved the judges and audiences alike due to its powerful and inspirational nature, spoke about his place in history at this point in time when asked about how he wants to use his poetry to heal the world around him.
Speaking about the impact of his performance dedicated to George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake, Leake said, "At a time when so much is going around all of us, I want to be able to look back at this moment in history and say my work inspired people and made a difference." Leake says he's excited about the finale and hopes to make it all the way, but, even if he doesn't, it wouldn't matter a great deal as the journey itself has been amazing. "No doubt winning the show will be a dream come true, but this has been a wonderful opportunity for me and I'm grateful being here," Leake said. Talking about his most emotional performance, Leake remembers the poetry dedicated to his mother which discusses the hardships faced by African-Americans.
Comedian Alex Hooper, who didn't make it to the next round but was loved and appreciated from all corners, talked about how much he's grown since the first time he appeared on the show a few seasons ago. "It's not that I've changed, but only grown as a person." Talking about getting booed off the stage the first time around, Hooper says, "I didn't mind that because Simon (Cowell) loved me and if Simon loves you even when no one else does, you must be doing something right."
Hooper counts Joan Rivers and Dave Chapelle among his influences and says you only roast the ones you love. "I roast people I like. So I look at their qualities, things I like about them, then put in an unexpected joke to throw everyone off, but the intention is always comedy." Hooper says he doesn't believe comedy should be safe and he will continue to push the boundaries of the art.
Starlett Dion, a member of the CA Wildcats, spoke about how she got started with cheerleading, aerobatics and gymnastics. "I started when I was two years old, and I'm 20 right now so I've been doing this for almost my entire life," Dion says. "For me, the thing that mattered was the energy and athleticism that goes into the sport. The preparation and practice involved makes cheering so much fun!"
Speaking about the sport of cheering, Dion says she's glad to be on 'America's Got Talent' as the show is helping legitimize cheerleading. "Here, it's not about the sport we're cheering, but the cheering itself. We're the first cheer group to have gotten this far ever in 'America's Got Talent', we're the first ones, and I think that's great because people can see this as a sport and not an added extra to another sport." Dion also talks about how the sport of cheering has positively impacted her life. "This is a sport where not many people of color are found, so it gives me the confidence of knowing I can perform in spaces previously dominated by others, shine and come out on top."
The finale of 'America's Got Talent' airs on September 23, 2020.