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‘Greatest moment of my life’: TV adventure ends fo...

‘Greatest moment of my life’: TV adventure ends for reality-show singer

The reality-show journey has ended for an opera-singing former MTSU student, but he’s still thinking positively after a summer filled with firsts and plenty of fan support.

Jonathan Allen of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., sings “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables” at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Tuesday night on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” (Photo courtesy of NBC.com)

“Thanks, everyone that voted for me and support(ed) me,” Lawrenceburg, Tenn., native Jonathan Allen tweeted Wednesday night, shortly after a national audience vote eliminated him from the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

“Everything happens for a reason,” he added, closing his @allen_operaboy tweet with a winking smiley-face emoticon.

The 20-year-old vocal performance major, who attended MTSU through spring 2012, was consistently praised by the “America’s Got Talent” celebrity judges for “making us feel an emotional connection.”

They didn’t think Allen’s Aug. 27 live performance of “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables” was up to par, however. The AGT audience apparently agreed, choosing tenor trio Forte over Allen to move ahead to the finals in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.

Allen smiled broadly at the trio when the decision was announced Wednesday night, rushing over to shake hands and hug his competitors before stepping offstage.

Allen, who now lives in Albuquerque, N.M., made it onto the summer variety-show competition June 11 with a standing-ovation performance of ”Con Te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye),” Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s signature song.

“America’s Got Talent” celebrity judge and supermodel Heidi Klum, left, prepares to leap onto an adjoining stage to hug contestant Jonathan Allen, right, during the reality show’s Aug. 7 live broadcast. (Photo courtesy of NBC.com)

He captured even more attention with his personal story, explaining during his first TV appearance that he was disowned by his parents at age 18 because he is gay and “my music is what really helped me through the hard time. In my darkest moments, I can escape through music.”

“I was the most nervous, shy, dorky kid … very doubting myself,” Allen said Tuesday night before what became his final “America’s Got Talent” performance. “Radio City Music Hall was beyond my imagination. It was the greatest moment of my life.

“It’s very great to know that you’re being accepted for exactly who you are and who you’re supposed to be.”

Celebrity judge Heidi Klum was Allen’s biggest cheerleader during his time on the show. The supermodel/TV host unabashedly supported Allen throughout the competition, going so far as to shout “I wanna take my shoes off and jump on that stage and hug you and squeeze you! I’m so happy that you’re still there!” on the Aug. 7 show — and then do just that.

The “America’s Got Talent” competition continues Sept. 3, 10 and 17. The winner of $1 million and a headlining show on the Las Vegas Strip will be announced on Sept. 18.

Curtis Holland

You can watch video clips of Allen’s performances online at www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent.

Another MTSU student, award-winning dancer Curtis Holland of Miami, Fla., also showcased his talent on TV this summer by competing in Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” reality show.

The sophomore recording-industry major, who’s been dancing since he was 4 years old, tap-danced his way past hundreds of other hopefuls to make the reality show’s Top 20.

A shoulder injury eliminated Holland from the competition on July 30, but he said he plans to return for the “So You Think You Can Dance” season finale on Sept. 10. You can see some of Holland’s performances at www.fox.com/dance/contestants/curtis-holland.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)


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