Eleven-year-old violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa blew judges away when he auditioned on “America’s Got Talent” back in June, earning a Golden Buzzer pass from judge Simon Cowell that sends him straight to the live shows this month.
The coveted Golden Buzzer essentially gave Tyler a short vacation from Hollywood and the pressure of another round of performing to earn that live spot. Once the live shows start, Tyler will need votes from viewers to advance.
But Tyler hasn’t treated his break as “down time,” instead continuing to pop up all over Raleigh with both scheduled and impromptu performances. Tyler has even taken time to just play in the park with his little brother and constant sidekick, Adam, who is seven-and-a-half.
According to his Facebook page, Tyler’s “violin grind” has included a July 4th performance of “The National Anthem” at the Durham Bulls baseball game, a gig at the North Hills Beach Music Series in Midtown, an appearance with Miss North Carolina, his own fifth-grade graduation at Walnut Creek Elementary School and several street performances in downtown Raleigh.
Tyler’s ‘AGT’ audition
At his June 11 audition, the judges asked Tyler why he started playing the violin, and he told them it was because he had been bullied. One judge asked him if he knew why he was bullied and Tyler replied, “It’s because I had cancer, and I almost died.”
Tyler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was four-and-a-half-years-old. He underwent three years of chemotherapy, during which he lost his hair.
This month, Tyler celebrated four years of being cancer-free.
For that June audition, Tyler played Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” accompanied by some background music. He danced around the stage while playing and the audience clapped along. When he finished playing, everyone — audience and judges — jumped to their feet for a standing ovation.
Cowell called him “an extraordinary young man” and pushed the Golden Buzzer to advance Tyler to the live round.
When will we see Tyler again?
The live “America’s Got Talent” shows begin on Tuesday, Aug. 13, but NBC says Tyler won’t be on that first one.
The performers at live shows rely on voting from viewers to advance, so get ready for that.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesday nights at 9 on NBC.