The young Raleigh violinist who made it to the Top 10 in this season’s “America’s Got Talent” isn’t finished with Hollywood quite yet.
Tyler Butler-Figueroa taped an episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday, and the taping coincided with his 12th birthday.
“I wanted the biggest birthday party ever and to me, this is the biggest birthday party ever,” Tyler told Ellen DeGeneres.
The episode featuring Tyler airs today (Wednesday, Sept. 25). Locally, “Ellen” airs at 3 p.m. on CBS 17 (WNCN).
Tyler told DeGeneres about his battle with cancer and how he was being bullied in school because his hair was falling out. (Tyler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was four-and-a-half-years-old and underwent three years of chemotherapy. He recently celebrated four years being cancer-free.)
Tyler told DeGeneres that he had a chemo port in his chest and couldn’t play sports, so he took up the violin. DeGeneres was impressed that Tyler busked on the streets of Raleigh to raise money for his family to go to Charlotte for his first audition with “America’s Got Talent.”
Tyler finished the story with: “I made the cut, and look at me now.”
When DeGeneres asked him what it’s like when he performs, Tyler said performing makes him feel like The Incredible Hulk.
“I’m like, a regular person now, and just like with the Hulk, he’s shy and doesn’t really talk. But when it’s action time, we turn into a different person, and I just love to perform,” Tyler said.
DeGeneres called Tyler an “amazing performer” and asked him what the bullies think of him now.
“Now all the bullies want to be my friends and they congratulate me,” Tyler said. (DeGeneres reminded him that they should have been nice to him before he appeared on TV.)
DeGeneres never lets a guest leave without gifts, and Tyler was no exception. DeGeneres gave Tyler three gorgeous violins and — because he likes to help his mom with bills, DeGeneres said — a check for $10,000 from Shutterfly.
Tyler also performed on the show, reprising his rendition of “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia, which he did on the Aug. 20 episode of “America’s Got Talent.”
You can watch the episode of “Ellen” at 3 p.m. on CBS 17 or at the “Ellen” website.