Aspiring musician Connor Johnson's America's Got Talent Season 17 audition did not go on without a hitch. As the 23-year-old street performer and surfer from Hawaii took the stage during Tuesday night's episode of the hit NBC talent competition, his audition nearly got derailed by an interruption from judge Simon Cowell.
Traveling to Los Angeles with his mother, a nurse who's served in the military for 30 years, Johnson attempted to impress the judges and the crowd with a cover of Lewis Capaldi's "Forever." However, as he strummed his guitar and began belting out the lyrics, Johnson's performance was briefly paused by Cowell, who raised his hand, cutting Johnson off mid-performance. Speaking to the 23-year-old performer amid a wave of boos, Cowell told Johnson, "I've gotta be honest with you – that was a bit boring."
Johnson, however, appeared unfazed by Cowell's controversial interruption, and he seamlessly moved on to a second performance, a rendition of Disclosure's "Latch." His cover of the song not only drew applause from the crowd but also plenty of praise from the judges, including the once unimpressed Cowell, who joked, "Connor, thank you very much. Do you have a third song? "No, I'm kidding, I'm kidding," before telling Johnson that "this was a really good audition. You have a good voice." Cowell added that if Johnson were to move forward in the competition, he would "probably gotta go a little bit outside your comfort zone." Cowell also applauded Johnson for how well he handled the interruption, sharing, "good for you when we stopped you, you just took a beat and then you really did deliver. So much better on the second song, so well done."
Cowell's fellow judges shared equal praise for the singer, with Vergara telling the singer, "usually when Simon asks, even though it's annoying, when he asks for a second song, he's right. This one was so much better and your voice is beautiful. Klum added, "You do have a beautiful voice but you're also very easy on the eyes. I'm just like looking at all these gorgeous girls right here and they all have little hearts in their eyeballs." Mandel, meanwhile, said he believes Johnson is "gonna be able to come in off the street and perform in a building like this every night you want."
Although Johnson's audition got off to a rough start and he didn't get the coveted Golden Buzzer (he did get voted through to live auditions), he already seems to have plenty of fans on his side. Viewers tuning into Tuesday night's episode were quick to not only share their love for the singer but also come to his defense amid that awkward moment with Cowell, with one person tweeting, "Simon is just wrong about Connor's first tune. The second was just as good too." New episodes of America's Got Talent air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates!