(Read all about them in the book!)
"Z" is for "No Time to Zzz"
…By the time the two-part, Final Five show rolls around in September 2008, there’s so much going on inside my head. I’m worried it might pop on live TV. I never expected—surely I dreamt it, but I never thought these types of dreams could come true—to make the top fifty let alone the Top Five, but there I am standing onstage—again.
Before the show, I take a moment and let my barriers down a little. I think about the what ifs should I win the whole thing, I mean, I’ve a one-in-five chance now, which makes me smile, but I’m not there yet. I clamp down on the thoughts and close up the mental box. Then I lock it and put it in the back of my mind. I don’t want to jinx myself.
Apart from me, the finalists were:
· Queen Emily, a spectacular singer who I thought had more of a general appeal to a larger audience.
· Nuttin’ But Stringz, two brothers with amazing skills on the violin.
· Eli Matson, a pianist and singer
· Neal E. Boyd, an opera singer
It’s Neal who walks away as the overall winner. I place fourth, Eli is second, Nuttin' But Stringz comes in third and Queen Emily rounds out the Top 5.
When the lights come down for the last time, I let out a huge sigh of release. Yeah, I don’t have a million bucks burning a hole in my pocket, but what a huge accomplishment. Booed on a Dallas stage, kicked off the show in Las Vegas, recalled from San Antonio and here I am, standing proud at the end of the final show in Los Angeles. What a blessing that I had the chance to sing along the winding road that is America’s Got Talent.
I marvel at how many people stepped up to help me along the journey. My family, friends, colleagues and a whole bunch of people who offered up prayers to the Lord. I will be forever grateful to each and every one. There’s no way I could have done this alone.
I’ve already won so many times over. It not all about coming in first place, it’s about what I’ve personally achieved. I hadn’t merely recovered to where I could speak to my wife or sing in the shower again. I was singing to millions of viewers on national TV, and those millions of folks had endorsed me week after week by bringing me back time after time.
The whole AGT experience was a major accomplishment and I attribute one hundred-and-ten percent of that to God. He knew I wanted this opportunity in a bad way. I never expected he would have me glorify him through a reality show, but hey, whatever works to gain maximum exposure.
For me, the reward is standing up as a positive image for those who struggle with various issues or inner demons. Paying homage to God after each performance allowed me to become a responsible voice to so many people who’ve gone through difficult times, and that reward was so much greater than a million dollars and a show in Las Vegas. God rewarded me in a different way. He does work in mysterious ways—and I couldn’t have asked for more...
Tomorrow: What? There’s no more letters??
Photo Credit: Neva Barnhart