Why Simon Cowell Had 11-Year-Old Phenom D’Corey Johnson Sing Twice

D’Corey Johnson, 11, has high aspirations, and his America’s Got Talent audition suggests he’s on his way to fulfilling them.

Johnson, dressed in a gray suit coat and bright green bow tie, sang Journey’s “Open Arms” to the crowd’s delight, but it wasn’t until Judge Simon Cowell asked him to sing it again without the backing track that his true talent emerged, earning him a “yes” vote from all four judges.

“When he removed the track, less is more. You sang better than today. Judge Howie Mandel raved about the acapella version. “You did great.”

The Judges’ appreciation and the crowd’s standing ovation made the aspiring singer cry.

“I’m so happy to be here,” he remarked.

Before singing, the Louisville, Kentucky native told the Judges about his Broadway ambitions.

“I want to be on Broadway, in movies, and Hamilton and Wicked,” he stated. However, his journey to America’s theatrical capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to AGT to test his singing talents and impress Judge Simon Cowell.

“I watch AGT almost every day,” Johnson informed the Judges. “Simon, you’re my favorite because you’re like my mama.”

I’m liked. Cowell laughed, “Thank you.”

Cowell encouraged 11-year-old Johnson to start.

“Be good,” he repeated to himself.

Johnson’s “Open Arms” performance brought the audience to their feet and had several high notes, but Cowell thought something was lacking.

He afterward thought the tween’s “timing was off.”

D’Corey Johnson: 11-Year-Old Covers “Open Arms” By Journey | Auditions | AGT 2023

D’Corey Johnson performs on America’s Got Talent, Season 18 Episode 1

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