Sometime soon, the folks at Tahoma High School are going to ask Benicio Bryant to start his freshman year now that his amazing run on “America’s Got Talent” is over.
“Yeah, probably, right?” Bryant said with a laugh. “It’s so funny, all my friends are texting me, ‘Hey, you know, when are you coming back?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Well, everyone misses you and we’re just wondering if you ever come back to school or not?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, sorry.’ ”
Who can blame the Maple Valley 15-year-old? Bryant’s been having the time of his life on “America’s Got Talent.” He didn’t win the show Wednesday night when results were revealed. The fans chose singer-pianist Kodi Lee. But Bryant still celebrated like he did.
So much so he lost his powerful voice, he said in a gravel-scoured growl Thursday morning by phone from Los Angeles.
“I was having too much fun,” Bryant said. “Literally, I was just having so much fun. It was coming down to the two people left, and everyone absolutely lost their mind when Kodi won and I was so proud of him. And I think that’s part of why I lost my voice. Because I was screaming.”
Bryant felt like Lee was a worthy champion of the reality contest show that pitted amateurs with various talents against each other for $1 million and a chance to perform in Las Vegas.
“I loved his whole family,” Bryant said. “I was just excited about everything and you couldn’t be more excited for him, either. He’s so nice to talk to. He’s just a really good friend.”
Bryant’s voice held up long enough to wow a group of judges that included star-maker Simon Cowell, and captivate thousands of new fans who vigorously supported him on social media.
After earning a place on the show with his stirring cover of Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke,” he sang three original songs and established himself as an artist. Fans and judges responded and it came as something of a shock that he didn’t make the top five.
Bryant capped the experience by letting his curly hair down, donning a hot pink outfit and singing in Spanish with reggaeton star Ozuna.
The response to the star turn was so big that his phone went atomic. He eventually had to turn off all his notifications.
“I honestly really wasn’t planning on winning,” Bryant said. “There’s so many amazing people … in this competition. I was like, I’m going in this competition to share my music with the world. That’s what I wanted in general, and I think I did that. So I feel like I’ve won either way.”
Bryant was mostly flawless on “AGT.” His performances were strong and note perfect. His style was unique and his outlook upbeat throughout. He sang in some of the most stressful circumstances and emerged smiling each time.
This has only reinforced the idea that he was meant to perform for a living. Bryant says he can imagine himself standing on a stage every night for the rest of his life.
“I’ve sort of been convinced, but this is kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is what I want to do,’” Bryant said. “I want to make records and tour. It’s been my dream for so long. I think ‘AGT’ was just the beginning.”
The performance with Ozuna placed him in a very real pop context. There’s no doubt he’ll be receiving representation offers now that his contract with “AGT” is up.
Beyond that Bryant’s not really sure what to expect.
“You know, I think I’m just going to go with the flow and see what happens,” he said. “Last night was so amazing. I hope that a lot of people like my song with Ozuna and we’ll just see what happens.”