Simon Cowell Stops Cocky ‘America’s Got Talent’ Singer Mid-Performance, Teaches Him a Lesson He Will Never Forget

Simon Cowell Stops Cocky ‘America’s Got Talent’ Singer Mid-Performance, Teaches Him a Lesson He Will Never Forget
Simon Cowell at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2018. (Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

Simon Cowell stopped a singer in the middle of his America’s Got Talent audition, forcing him to leave or come back with better material after calling him “cocky.”

Lamont Landers, a 27-year-old musician and singer from Alabama, said he started learning the guitar after his parents got divorced.

“My dad had got me a guitar when I was in second grade for Christmas. But my dad got it really for himself,” Landers said backstage. “He got it for him and I couldn’t play it. When you’re a kid, that sucks.”

Landers said that after his parents divorced when he was 14, he put up a mental wall because of the pain it caused him.

“When they got divorced, he left the guitar. And so I picked it up. I started learning songs. Having the guitar as an outlet was the perfect thing for me,” Landers said.

Landers then headed out on stage to perform. After chatting with the judges for a bit, he was ready to perform.

“Okay Lamont, I don’t want to know what the song is. I want it to be a surprise. Good luck,” Cowell told him.

Landers began to sing Al Green’s 1972 hit “Let’s Stay Together.” But Cowell stopped him a little into the song. The audience made a sound of disappointment.

“That’s a very safe … what I would call wedding song,” Cowell said.

Cowell then asks him if he has another song he can perform. Landers replies that it would be “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye.

“Is it still safe, though?” judge Julianne Hough asked.

“It’s the same genre,” host Terry Crews said to the camera, from the stage wing.

“I’m just wondering whether we should just come up with a better song, because your problem is that you don’t take risks,” Cowell said.

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Catch me if you can. ????:@bowenplaysbeats

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Landers seemed unconvinced. That’s when Cowell let Landers know he was not happy with the response he was getting, suggesting to Landers that he come back later with a better song.

Landers, feeling defiant, insisted that he perform his alternate song, against Cowell’s advice.

“I think it’s great. I’m not sure if it’s what you guys want, but I think it’s beautiful,” Landers responds.

Cowell was visibly annoyed.

“I think you should come back later because right now we’re not understanding each other,” Cowell said.

Landers, still more defiant, decided to overlook Simon’s advice, and asked the audience what they wanted to happen.

“Lamont, you are getting on my nerves right now, because I actually like your voice. So I would suggest you think about what I’m saying and I’m going to give you another shot. Don’t be cocky,” Cowell said.

Landers thought for a second and finally relented, agreeing to come back later.

As other contestants auditioned, Landers worked backstage in an attempt to come up with something new. He could be seen racking his brains in backstage rehearsal rooms with America’s Got Talent’s musical staff.

When it was his turn to come back out, Landers admitted to America’s Got Talent stage staff that his last song could have been better.

Now back on stage, Simon told Landers again that he actulaly liked his voice. In fact, all the judges did.

Ready for his second attempt, Landers apologized for his unfamiliarity with the new song he was about to perform: “I learned this song in the last 30 minutes. So forgive me if there’s mistakes.”

Just as Landers reached his second verse, Cowell stopped the show, again. But to Landers’ relief, he asked Lamont to relax and slow down the song.

Landers, still ill at ease, also asked the audience not to clap along with his singing. He started again, but shortly after, stopped himself.

“Now hold on. This is another thing. I got to tune my guitar. I’m so sorry,” he said.

“You are torturing us here,” Simon said.

Finally ready, Landers closed his eyes and went for it.

This time, he had it. The mood changed and the approval of the audience and judges was evident immediately.

Landers got to sing his song all the way through, after which Simon was the first of the judges to stand and applaud. Two other judges followed as the crowd roared.

“I’m humbled and I’m honored that you guys took the time to give me another chance. I thrive under pressure and I love trying to adapt and overcome. Thank you for the chance,” Landers told the judges.

Simon then told Lamont why he was concerned about his earlier performance.

“I think there is a wall in front of you, which is the fear of failure. You’ve got to let yourself go a little bit. There’s nothing wrong by looking emotional, or happy or sad,” Cowell said.

He then empathized with Landers, saying that he knows how it feels to be criticized and not know how to take criticism. He added, however, that he could see that growth in Landers was already occurring after taking the criticism.

“I think the door has just opened for you here,” Cowell told Landers.

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