Bonavega (age 31), a rock singer from Toledo, Ohio, performed his original rock song “Overdrive” during the Auditions round on America’s Got Talent 2020 (Season 15).
In an interview prior to his performance, Bonavega said his real name is Brandon Wilbarger. He said he has very strict parents so a lot of his music were not allowed. He found it very hard to express himself creatively. He then moved out of Ohio to pursue music in a real way and went to Hollywood. “The first time I went on stage, I remember instantly feeling like this is what I have to do. That is where I birthed Bonavega, it was in that idea of creative expression…When I’m Bonavega on stage, I feel like the freest form of myself,” he said.
Bonavega went onstage, clad in a silk bathrobe. Looking sinister and weird at first, the audience and the judges didn’t know what to expect. When the music started and Bonavega took off his bathrobe to reveal a sculpted body in a sequin and tassel fringe dress usually worn by female dancers, everyone was shocked.
But Bonavega’s performance and originality captured the hearts of the audience and the judges. He received a standing ovation from the audience and from judges Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell. Bonavega ultimately got 4 Yes votes from the judges and advanced to the next round of the competition.
Season: AGT 2020 (Season 15)
Genre: Singing / Music
Act: Rock Singer and Guitarist
Song: “Overdrive” by Bonavega
Audition Result: Got 4 Yes votes, advanced to next round
Rock Star Bonavega Surprises the Judges – America’s Got Talent 2020
Howie Mandel said that when he saw Bonavega with the makeup and the unusual outfit, he thought it was going to be a joke. “You are so far this season, my biggest surprise. I have no idea, I mean it’s rock and roll, it’s camp, it’s speeder…and you have a mullet,” he said.
Heidi Klum said she loves everything about Bonavega. “It just blew my mind. I also love that you don’t really overthink what you’re wearing or how you look.” Bonavega said the outfit’s for Heidi. She replied, “I love it, I love everything about you and you sang fantastic on top of it.”
Sofia Vergara said it was also a surprise for her. She asked, “Is there a reason for the muscles?” Bonavega smiled and said he learned from host Terry Crews.
Simon Cowell said they got to know a lot about Bonavega during his few minutes of performance. “I’d be curious to see where this is gonna end up.”
America’s Got Talent (AGT) Season 15 premiered in the United States on May 26, 2020, on NBC. For this season, AGT judges are Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, returning Heidi Klum, and newcomer Sofia Vergara.
This season is most notable for its production being affected by the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which impacted audition sessions. The program initially moved to filming without an audience present at auditions, before ultimately suspending production. Auditions were later allowed to continue, but via online applications from those quarantined in their homes.
The production staff decided to push through with the broadcast as planned and premiere on May 26. Debate continues on how many episodes would be broadcast with the amount of material that had been recorded.
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