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LI tween returns to 'America's Got Talent: Champions' edition

Luke Islam is a contestant on the "America's

Luke Islam is a contestant on the "America's Got Talent: The Champions" season. Credit: NBC / Chris Haston

Thirteen-year-old Garden City South singer Luke Islam, a semifinalist on the most recent season of NBC's "America's Got Talent," will be among those competing Monday at 8 p.m. on the international all-star edition, "America's Got Talent: The Champions."

"I shot in October" at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, says the eighth-grader at H. Frank Carey High School, who goes up against 39 singers, comics and other variety acts from worldwide versions of the show. "I met a lot of new people," he adds of the camaraderie that develops among the nominal rivals. In particular, "I had a good time talking to Puddles Pity Party," the nom de clown of Mike Geier, a singing sad clown who reached the 2017 quarterfinals. "He's an amazing act — I really enjoyed watching his performance."

Since last appearing on "AGT" in September, Islam, the son of Rebecca and Mithun Islam, sang at the Dec. 3 UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street, where actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas received the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award. "I sang 'You Will Be Found' from [the Broadway musical] 'Dear Evan Hansen,' " which he had performed to a standing ovation on the "AGT" live quarterfinal in August.

"It went well," Islam says. "And I met many new people, such as the CEO of UNICEF, and they were all super nice, and it was a great opportunity and great experience, and I'm very happy they invited me to perform."

Whatever happens on "AGT: The Champions," Islam already is set to direct, produce and, with Wheatley School student Kaileigh Fiorillo of Williston Park, co-host the youth cabaret "From Dreams to Broadway." Benefiting the organization You Gotta Believe, which helps foster-care children find families to adopt them, it takes place March 7 at The Green Room 42, in the Yotel New York hotel near Times Square.

As for his oft-spoken dream of becoming a Broadway professional, Islam has been approached by agents seeking to represent him. "I'm going to audition for agents who have reached out," he says. "I've been preparing stuff for all the agents who have been coming my way. I'm so thankful they want to talk with me, of all people," the young phenom says modestly. "My life's dream is to perform on Broadway, and having an opportunity like this is awesome."


NBC: Change will come to 'America's Got Talent' if needed

An investigation of Gabrielle Union's complaints of racism and other troubling behavior on the set of "America's Got Talent" is being taken very seriously by NBC, the network's entertainment chief said Saturday, reports The Associated Press.

Paul Telegdy said the company will respond appropriately when it receives the findings of its inquiry, which he said may be completed by the end of January.

"I'm very confident if we learn something ... we will put new practices in place if necessary. We certainly take anyone's critique of what it means to come to work here incredibly seriously," the NBC Entertainment chairman told a TV critics meeting during a Q&A session.

"We want to always go after the truth. That's our culture here, you can ask anyone who works here," he said.

Union, known for her roles in the films "Bring It On" and "Bad Boys II," was a judge on the talent showcase for a season, until she and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough weren't asked to return.

The trade publication Variety reported that Union, who is black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show's producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks. That included what Union said were multiple notes from producers saying she was wearing her hair "too black" for the "America's Got Talent" audience.

Union had also complained of other behavior, such as judge-producer Simon Cowell's smoking on the indoor set, Variety reported in November.

NBC has spoken with Union as part of its formal investigation that began in early December.

Without directly referring to NBC or the two companies that produce the show, Fremantle and Syco, Union has tweeted about her situation several times, acknowledging the support she's gotten and retweeting instructions on how to give a proper apology.

Union's husband, former NBA player Dwyane Wade, and other prominent people have called for answers on why she was fired.

In a statement last November, NBC and Fremantle defended what they called the show's "long history of inclusivity and diversity."

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, of which Union is a member, also said that it was working with the actress to investigate her complaints.

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