There is no denying the talent of Brian Justin Crum in this season’s America’s Got Talent. His voice is tremendous, and the emotion he evokes is incredible. It turns out he studied music with a very similar-minded artist in Adam Lambert and also has support from Queen whose music he sang at his audition.
“I actuallly grew up with Adam,” Crum told Billboard. “We are both from San Diego. We both took lessons from the same voice teacher, so we definitely have a similar kind of technique behind our singing.”
And not only did he have the support this season from his old friend, he also had support from Brian May of Queen. “He’s the best,” Crum said of Lambert, then launched into the support he’s had from Queen’s guitarist. “Brian May actually shared my video of ‘Creep’ on his Twitter and his homepage. It’s so nice to have support.”
Crum has a prior connection to May as well. He toured with the We Will Rock You musical. His other stage credits include roles in Wicked, Grease, and Next to Normal.
He described the similarities he sees between himself and Lambert. “People will say that Adam Lambert and I are dramatic, but I never think about it as dramatic. If you look at the old greats, the rockers, the classic performers, even if you look at Whitney Houston or Celine Dion or Judy Garland, they are all such big voices that told such emotional stories, and I guess today in pop music that just doesn’t happen anymore, so it might come across as being dramatic,” he explains, “But I think about it as storytelling, and I miss those big powerful voices you can feel in your gut. A big voice and a lot of good stories to tell.”
For the finale on Tuesday night, Crum sang a very dramatic, to use the term again, version of “Man in the Mirror.” He garnered a standing ovation from the judges, as did all the acts that night. That’s how tight a race it is. But what made him stand out in particular was the package before his performance where he sat crying, watching videos of fans who have said that his story of being a bullied gay youth inspired them.
He’s definitely a heavy favorite to win the night, but he’s far from the only one, and even far from being the only favorite singer. Everyone Tuesday night brought their A game. While he left people wowed, so did Sal Valentinetti, Linkin’ Bridge, Laura Bretan, The Clairvoyants, and Jon Dorenbos.
But if he has one opponent he needs to worry about, it’s definitely Grace VanderWaal. This 12-year-old girl has more poise and talent than many who are two, three, and four times her age. They’ve repeatedly said she could win it all, and Simon Cowell has compared her to a young Taylor Swift. No one will be surprised if she takes home the million dollars at the end.
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