Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

Filipino fisherman Roland Abante earns standing ovation at 'America's Got Talent' qualifiers

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 13, 2023 4:44 pm

Filipino contestant Ronald Abante got a standing ovation anew from the judges of the competition show America's Got Talent (AGT) with his rendition of I Will Always Love You.

During the AGT qualifiers, Abante belted out the classic song, showcasing his raspy, powerful vocals.

I Will Always Love You is written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton as a country song, released in 1973.

Whitney Houston covered a ballad version for the 1992 romantic drama The Bodyguard. The late singer's rendition topped in several countries and in 1994, earned her a Grammy Award for Record of the Year, one of the highest accolades in the music industry.

Abante's singing video was uploaded on AGT's YouTube channel on Sept. 13, Manila time.

Sofia Vergara told him bravo, adding that everyone was going crazy for him.

"I know that the people have been watching you, your audition, and people love you," Vergara said. "It's amazing. Coming from your country, from karaoke, good job tonight. You are amazing, you deserve to be on the AGT."

Simon Cowell, meanwhile, initially said he didn't "like" Abante's performance, getting boos from the crowd. He then clarified that it was because he loved it.

"How could you not? I mean, particularly when I saw the film, and what happened after the audition and how much this means to you," Cowell said. "You are singing your life now on the stage... People who'd come from all over the world to kind of fulfill their dreams. And I think, well, in fact, I know America loves you and rightly so."

Howie Mandel noted that Abante, who has "the perfect voice," chose the "perfect song."

"It was spectacular. You know you said 'I will always love you.' I think you just made everyone in the world love you," Mandel said. "This was memorable. Only two can go through they got to vote for you. I believe that this was the performance of a final."

For her part, Heidi Klum said Abante's voice has so much grit and texture.

"It was beautiful, to be honest, one of my favorites of tonight," Klum said. "And if there's another golden buzzer that could push you right to the finale, I would push it for you right now."

During his audition last June, the Bisaya-speaking Abante through an interpreter said he works as a fisherman in the morning, then a delivery rider in the afternoon. His favorite pastime is singing karaoke in the neighborhood.

He noted it was his "big dream" to join the AGT, which he watches on his mobile phone.

Abante sang When a Man Loves a Woman, written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright and originally recorded by Percy Sledge in 1966. He earned a standing ovation from the judges and went viral for his performance.

Of the four AGT qualifiers, only two of the 11 performances each will advance to the finals.