Luke Islam gave it his all Monday night on "America's Got Talent: The Champions," but the 13-year-old Garden City South singer was eliminated on this second season's second episode.
The H. Frank Carey High School eighth grader, who had reached the semifinals of "America's Got Talent" last year, performed Celine Dion's "Ashes," from the "Deadpool 2" movie soundtrack, as the audience at California's Pasadena Civic Center stood and waved lights all throughout the song.
"I liked you before you ever started to sing," judge Alesha Dixon told him afterward. "This is absolutely mind-blowing to me that you can sing like that," marveled fellow judge Heidi Klum.
Judge Simon Cowell was less taken with the lad. After having told Islam beforehand that the purpose of the competition is to raise one's game, he asked afterward about the boy's choice of song.
"I just love Celine Dion and I love that song," replied Islam, who was still 12 when this episode was recorded in October.
"I didn't, no, I'm afraid — I didn't," Cowell said. "It's not to say I don't like you — I just didn't like the song. I don't think it enabled you to showcase that big range of yours. But here's the good news: The audience reaction was mental," Cowell said accurately of the cheering crowd. "I think you've got a shot at making it through to the finals, but Luke … you've got to step up, because you are better than that."
The ninth of the night's 10 acts, Islam, the son of Rebecca and Mithun Islam, made it to the trio that would be judged not by the "superfan" voters who had advanced singer Marcelito Pomoy and magician Marc Spelmann minutes before, but by the quartet of judges, which also included Howie Mandel. Standing onstage with comedian Ryan Niemiller and escape artist Spencer Horsman, Islam lost out to Niemiller, a finalist on the most recent "America's Got Talent.” The comic received votes from Cowell, Dixon and Klum.
Boogie Storm, a dance troupe dressed to resemble Star Wars storm troopers, already had taken the night's Golden Buzzer to the finals after Cowell usurped the device from Mandel, the judge formally designated for it this episode.
Also eliminated were Ben Blaque, whose act of being fired upon by crossbows suffered mechanical difficulties; singing clown Puddles Pity Party; vocal group Collabro and mentalist Oz Pearlman.