Benicio “Beni” Bryant is no stranger to performing on stage or in front of a live audience on camera. Last year, he took second on The Voice Kids in Germany. This year, he’s competing on “America’s Got Talent” (AGT), one of the most popular summer reality series on television.
AGT is a talent show that airs on NBC every Tuesday during the summer months. The show is hosted by Terry Crews, an American actor and is judged by four celebrities. Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, along with two new judges; author and producer Gabrielle Union and Emmy Award-winner Julianne Hough, according to the AGT website.
Each judge has a “buzzer” to press that will light a big red “X” if the judge doesn’t like an act. If an act gets all buzzes from all four judges before its over, they have to stop performing and don’t make it through to the next round.
To make it onto the next round, three out of the four judges must vote yes for the act.
The show called Beni and his family asking if he wanted to audition on AGT back in February.
“We actually had a big family debate. We just didn’t want to be known as the family that keeps putting their kid on these shows. Beni was for it the whole time,” explained Beni’s dad Jeremy Bryant. “My wife and I were like, ‘Is it good for his career? Is it bad for his career?’ And we asked a lot of people in the business, and most of them said don’t do it. It’s a rare chance that you’re going to win that show. So when we talked about it, Beni was like, ‘Dad, I’m probably not going to win that show, but the exposure is really big.’”
So then it was decided, Beni was going to audition on AGT.
Beni’s first audition aired on June 4. He sang “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile.
Sitting backstage was pretty scary for Beni because he could hear the buzzer every so often, which was extremely loud when you’re backstage, he said.
When the time came to go out on stage, he was stopped and talked to by a familiar face, Terry Crews.
“I had to make sure I was still in reality. I was like is this really happening?” Beni said.
He said he was super nervous to meet Crews, but in the end, Crews was a really nice guy and easy to talk to.
Then reality struck once again when Beni walked out onto the stage and all eyes were on him.
“I was just like, ‘This is really happening.’ And stepped on that red ‘X’ that’s on the stage and just looked at Simon and was like ‘Ahhh!’” Beni said.
Leading up to his performance, Beni was most nervous about what Cowell was going to say and think of him.
After a brief introduction with the judges, Beni let it out and sang his heart out.
The crowd went wild and so did the judges. They all stood and cheered for Beni.
When Cowell spoke about what he thought about Beni’s performance, he had nothing but great things to say and even compared him to One Direction’s Harry Styles.
“I was really excited that they all liked me,” Beni said.
In the end, all four judges voted for him to on through to the next round.
While Beni and his mom, Marlo Bryant, were celebrating this amazing feat in Los Angeles, Jeremy was back in Maple Valley doing a walkthrough of their home with their landlord before moving out. He waited for his wife to call and tell him how the audition went.
Jeremy said he thought it didn’t go well at first because when Marlo called him she was crying, which ended up not being the case.
With such a successful audition, Beni’s fan following went through the roof. When he was on The Voice Kids, he developed a pretty big fan base, but after AGT it grew even bigger. He went from 18,000 followers on Instagram to 55,000 followers, Beni said.
“I posted something yesterday and it’s gone crazy. I had to turn off notifications because it was too much. I feel bad because I can’t respond to everyone. It’s a lot bigger than when I did The Voice,” Beni explained.
Jeremy said he’s also being recognized in public a lot too. For instance, when Beni was getting on a plane to go home from LA, the pilot recognized him right away and made an announcement. He said, “Benicio Bryant, I saw you walk on the plane. Everyone, he is on America’s Got Talent!”
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Beni said.
“It’s just like, I just want to go to the store and buy candy, you know?’ But I think it’s pretty fun. It’s cool,” he said laughing.
Even if he doesn’t win, Beni said he’s just glad he’s had the chance to be on AGT and share his voice with the world and get exposure. Despite all of his fame, Jeremy said Beni has been good about keeping a level head and has even gotten into donating to good causes.
For example, Jeremy said every year he donates to a kids auction that’s through the Mariners that gives toys away. He said he works with the Mariners a lot because of his catering business, Rain City Catering.
Jeremy Bryant always donates a dinner for 10 to “Eat like a Mariner,” and will make them something he would normally make for the Mariners. Every year that dinner raises about $1,500 to $2,000 for the charity.
Beni came to the auction this year and sang “Hallelujah’ for the whole crowd.
“Then in the middle of them auctioning my item off, — it was up to like $1,500 — and Beni gets up on the microphone and says ‘I will come to your house and sing for your family while my dad cooks for you. And then it sold for $10,000. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never raised more than $2,000 and he comes in and steals the whole thunder away,” Jeremy Bryant said.
With all Beni has done for not just his career, but for others as well, it’s hard for Jeremy not to yell to the world, “Look what my son is doing!” because he is so proud of him.
But he said he tries to keep his cool so he doesn’t “embarrass” Beni.
Looking to the next round, Beni said he is just preparing and working hard.
To watch Beni’s first audition, go to youtube.com/watch?v=4QTaVUV4h6U.
Be sure to tune into NBC to watch AGT on Tuesdays to see how far Beni will make it.