For those of you who do not know, the tenth season of America’s Got Talent had its finale this past Tuesday/Wednesday and it was one that, I feel, will be remembered for a very long time. This is one of the most important America’s Got Talent finales not because the talent was great or the performances were amazing, but because of something much bigger than any of that. I believe that this season is going to be remembered because it taught its viewers something, something beautiful about both what it means to have talent and how we all have the potential to be talented. Allow me to explain.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but still [SPOILER ALERT!]
This season on America’s Got Talent there was one contestant in particular who caught my attention, his name is Drew Lynch and he is a stuttering comedian. I know what you’re probably thinking, comedy is about the flow of the speakers voice and the delivery of the punch-lines so how could a stutterer possibly do well in a major competition like this? Drew Lynch is much more than a mere comedian and, for this show, his talent actually had very little to do with comedy. After moving to Los Angeles in order to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor, Drew was hit in the jugular with a softball, causing severe damage to his vocal chord and giving him a permanent stutter.
This life-changing event didn’t stop Drew from living his life, it didn’t even stop him from being on television. During season ten of America’s Got Talent, Drew auditioned and performed so well, he received Howie Mandell’s golden buzzer, sending him straight to the quarterfinals. Drew only gained popularity as he continued his journey, eventually even making it to the finals.
Now that you have a rough idea of his backstory, let me explain why he, as well as the winner, deserves the title of most talented (Note: this is not me complaining about the final choice or a bashing on the true winner, all necessary congratulations go to him as well). You see, Drew Lynch had his jokes, and sure they were pretty funny, but his true talent wasn’t in his writing, it wasn’t in his jokes, it wasn’t even in his delivery, his true talent was in the power that he had inside of himself to, despite all odds and circumstances, continue to fight for the thing he wanted most, which was, in this case, winning the million dollars. Although he did not win the first place, coming in as runner-up, with only a one percent difference in votes, Drew’s talent was much greater than not only the winner this year, but of any past winner and, most likely any winners in the future.
While Drew’s talent may not be that of humor or magic, singing or dancing, it is still undeniable that he has something, he has a light in him that inspires us all, it inspired me. Drew has taught me that, no matter what happens in life, no matter what curveballs life may throw at us, there is no excuse to give up, there is no excuse to stop trying, to stop believing in yourself.
I want to add that there was one other contestant who inspired me, Benjamin Yonattan, the blind dancer, but considering that I more closely relate with Drew, I am choosing to focus on his impact. Again, both contestants were inspirational in their own individual way and I do not want to take away from that.
I think that so many times we are our greatest enemies, our greatest critics. When something bad happens to us we wallow in self-pity and remorse, giving up so easily on the things that we actually care about. So many times we give up on ourselves and refuse to follow our once attainable dreams because something or someone got in the way. I know this has happened to me more than I would like to admit.
What I am trying to say here is that, although Drew may have not won the show, he still showed the true potential of his talent. Not his comedic talent, but rather his inspirational talent. He showed me that, no matter what happens in life, no matter what challenges I face, nothing should take me away from my dreams, nothing should take me away from doing what I want to do, and if that’s not true talent, I don’t know what is.