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Last Night I Stayed Up Late Watching This

Beatles screaming teenagers

Oh my gosh, I came across this last night and could not stop watching

America’s Got Talent videos. Here are a few of the performances that made my jaw drop — have you seen them before? These kids are bananas.

Roberta Battaglia walks onstage nervous and humble — but listen to that voice open up!

Jeffrey Li’s has the voice of an angel. Also, his parents’ nervous expressions tell such a love story.

Courtney Hadwin seems shy and shaky, but once the music starts, she turns into Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger’s love child.

Bohemian Rhapsody like you’ve never heard it before, by Norwegian 13-year-old (!) Angelina Jordan.

Thomas Day’s crooning is beautiful, but the more hilarious thing is how the camera keeps zooming in on the women in the audience. All the smoldering gazes!

Have you seen these? Aren’t they amazing? What are your late-night obsessions these days?

P.S. My dorky new hobby, and what are your random turn-ons?

(Photo by William Lovelace / Stringer © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

  1. Dienesa says...

    One night I stayed up waaaay too late catching up on One Direction’s journey on X Factor, esp Harry Styles <3 <3

  2. rr says...

    haha, you’ve discovered my quarantine survival strategy over the last year: hours of AGT and BGT videos of amazing acts!

  3. Johanna says...

    Shtisel. Hands down.

    • Susan L Young says...

      YES!

    • Agnès says...

      oh i love Shitsel; I still think often about the characters, is Shulem still alive? How is Akiva doing with his art? I can’t wait for the tiny jewish-orthodox restaurant where I go when I study at the library, to open again. The food is great and I’ve always felt so welcome.
      Hello from Paris!

  4. Michael Arceneau says...

    Have you Darci Lynn’s America’s Got Talent performance, that’s amazing too.

  5. Hannah says...

    I’m relieved to see I wasn’t the only one crying. XD Haha. Had to pull myself together quickly, lots of video conferences to power through today.

  6. Sarah K says...

    These were gorgeous, so much talent in these kids! I live in Norway and this show isn’t broadcast here so I really enjoy watching youtube compilations such as this.

  7. Theresa says...

    I just went down that rabbit hole! Wow!

  8. Monica says...

    The other night it was best/worst of America’s Next Top Model – narrow catwalk under water walking inside a huge beach ball…YES PLEASE. Crying hysterically over a bad makeover, trying to “smize” with a tarantula on your face, amazing!

  9. Libby says...

    Oh thank you so much for these. Such a long day at work—just got home at 9pm. Missed my kids bedtime and now am weeping over these AGT videos with a gin and tonic and I never drink.

  10. ks says...

    i came home for a long day of work, sans COJ (you know it’s a long day when there is no time for COJ!) and have spent the hour in a rabbit hole watching AGT videos while crying. all. the. tears. i can’t stop – watching AND crying! how are they so good??

  11. Alexandra says...

    I did the same thing the other night! And I discovered this INCREDIBLE kid, Benicio Bryant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LwSy-xZSPw
    Just imagine being born with that kind of raw talent!! Unbelievable.

  12. KS says...

    I really struggle with the America’s Got Talent show. While of course I want to support the amazingly talented and hard working humans who showcase their unique gifts such as the ones in these videos, the show itself is VERY racist and Gabrielle Union faced a lot of racial harm when she was a guest judge, and was forced out when she spoke up about it. So sad because if you watch the episodes from that season, it’s clear she was an excellent judge and deeply invested in the contestants. Disappointed that CoJ often only posts about racial issues when there’s trauma or violence in the news, but doesn’t seem to actively interrogate the racial harm done on entertainment platforms, etc. Please, I’m begging you, do more research on these sorts of things before driving more viewers to AGT. Thanks so much xo

    • Johanna says...

      Word to that! Thanks for this comment!!

  13. Danna says...

    Me, reading the comments: why is everyone talking about crying, it’s just talent show videos?
    Me watching the videos: CANNOT STOP SOBBING

  14. Lila says...

    My personal YouTube obsession is Li Ziqi. My daughter is also obsessed. Her videos are beautiful, calming and fascinating! This has been written about before but they truly helped me mentally during the pandemic! Her newer videos aren’t as good but I can watch the older ones over and over.

    • rr says...

      SAME! Add Jonna Jinton and Isabel Paige and that’s all my free time gone : )

  15. fgb says...

    Wow, these kids are incredible!

  16. Michele says...

    Yoyoka, the girl drummer from Japan! She is so amazing and plays with such joy. It just makes me happy to watch her and I listen to music for the drums more now. Even Robert Plant was amazed! https://youtu.be/91pz1E8pAOY

  17. C says...

    This clip from So You Think You Can Dance always makes me cry. It’s been a few years since I watched it, but yep, still makes me cry. It’s at the 1:16 marker that gets me. That jump! Sob.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyVwqpqdTlk

  18. Amber says...

    I’ll occasionally go down the singing competition rabbit hole, but I’m also really into these other YouTube music rabbit holes, def worth exploring: NPRs Tiny Desk Concerts (I’ve found so many new-to-me musicians/bands this way!), BBC Radio 1- Live Lounge covers, my fave is Miley’s cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness,” followed by Bastille covering Miley’s “We Can’t Stop.”

    And on the tv front, on the advice of a fellow CoJ reader, I recently got hooked on The Amazing Race, wherein I watched about 10 of the early seasons in a couple month period. Best pandemic binge yet.

    • Rezia says...

      oh my gosh Miley’s cover is so good. Her music is not for me but when I saw that cover, I was like, dang, she can sing!.

  19. Katie B says...

    Currently in a *deep* hole watching “Crash Landing on You” on Netflix. I’m coming to the end and crying through every episode, although the first half was lighter. In the first episodes, the heroine was *only* trapped in North Korea, not facing potential separation from her love! I can’t tell whether the crying is cathartic (because lots of pandemic feelings but not much time for pandemic crying) or it’s making things worse… but can’t stop watching:)

    • Muneeba says...

      One of my all time favourite kdramas! I don’t usually follow celebs but I was happy to find out that they announced they are a couple in real life!

    • Kelly says...

      I finished watching crash landing on you and then immediately rewatched it– I haven’t felt that emotionally invested in a show in a LONG time (maybe ever!!) Savor it!!

  20. Agnès says...

    My favourite is Thomas day, he seems the most natural talent. Very spécial voice.

  21. Denise says...

    I’m back into the naughty sexy British vicars on Grantchester these days.

    • Frankie Rose says...

      LOVE Grantchester sooooo much!

    • Katrin says...

      Oh gosh, I love him, too! Time for a rewatch, I think!

  22. Katie says...

    I am 38 years old and just started rewatching Dawson’s Creek, and wow, does it bring me back! The clothes, the music, the angst. It’s like being in high school all over again. Last night, Pacey frosted his tips(!!!). It’s been super fun, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels very far from their high school self, as I do. It’s really nice to realize that high school me is still in there somewhere,

    • Amrita says...

      I just started watching it for the first time ever! So much teen angst and bad fashion, haha. A great escape.

    • Kelly says...

      OK — I recently started rewatching this as well. Can we talk about the Pacey/teacher storyline? How was this an acceptable plot? Talk about things that wouldn’t fly today. Bananas!
      Also, I definitely wanted to be Joey Potter in high school. The constant eye rolling! Maybe this is why I was so angsty.

  23. Adrienne says...

    Paul Potts on AGT…! Not a kid, but goodness, it’s one of the best things ever! :)

  24. Laura Schultz says...

    Ok I’m glad I’m not the only one crying lol. As far as other shows, I’m running out of good ones. I sometimes obsess late night on dance videos like Jake Kodish ones https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jake+kodish. Gonna try the Detectorists, per above. If you haven’t seen The Bureau on Sundance, you HAVE to do it.

    • Katrin says...

      Of You’re running out, do you know Derry Girls yet? It‘s not that well known, from Northern Ireland, and so hilarious and moving. Or, the mini series A Very English Scandal with Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. Or – secret tip – the Norwegian series Skam, which you can watch on Dailymotion (there are numerous remakes, but the Norwegian show is the real deal, the one and only, I swear. It‘s fantastic, incredible).

  25. Brittny says...

    When I need a good pick me up/cry I watch Oscar Speeches. My favorite of all time is Lupita Nyong’o’s speech. Her reaction, those around her in awe of her and hugging her, her dress in that perfect shade of Cinderella Blue, and of course what she says. “When I look down at the this golden statue may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73fz_uK-vhs

  26. Kim says...

    Okay this post has me down a bottomless rabbit hole and I’m loving it!!

  27. Jo says...

    I have never seen or even really been aware of this show before and now I am knee-deep in golden buzzer compilation videos and crying giant happy tears in the middle of the workday. Thanks Joanna!

  28. Becca says...

    Have not seen these yet! But I sure do love America’s Kidz Got Singing. 😋

    30 Rock has forever replaced the real show name in my brain!

    • Laura says...

      Go jump back up your mother, Liddy!! Love that show so much and it’s amazing how often references to it come up in real life.

  29. Kristin says...

    My husband and I just started watching The Sopranos. A re-watch for him but new to me! So happy to finally see the whole series. We also re-watched Entourage, which was really fun.

  30. sara says...

    My aunt was on this show with her senior dance troop. Taping was amazing. The crowd went wild and they were so excited and proud to have been on the show. The air date came… and it was clear that the show was completely edited so as to create a false “story line” and painted their troop in a humiliating light with the crowd practically booing them off the stage. You can imagine their horror as everyone they knew had tuned into the show. Don’t believe everything you see. This show in particular is a scam, I am sure much to the heartbreak of a lot of truly talented people like my aunt.

    • Alex says...

      Exactly! I mean, these kids are amazing, but I find the whole edited and made-up storylines disgusting, to be honest :(

    • b says...

      Wow! I’m so sorry that happened to your aunt, Sara.

    • Judy Lewis says...

      Oh that’s so horrible. I’m sorry that happened to you aunt and her friends.

    • Charlotte says...

      How awful Sara, I’m so sorry for her aunt and her friends! I can’t stand shows like these because they feel so manufactured. Your aunt’s story is an important reminder that this phoniness isn’t just obnoxious, it actually affects people in very real, hurtful ways. Thanks for sharing.

    • KS says...

      Ugh, so sorry to hear this — thank you SO much for sharing this with us ❤️

  31. I don’t watch this particular show but I am very fond of Do You Want to Be a Millionaire? My grandfather looks like Regis Philbin and I watched the Jimmy Kimmel reboot when I was round the clock nursing my son last fall. I watched David Chang win the million dollars!! It was so exciting!

  32. CS says...

    My goto pick-me-ups after a bad day are these types of auditions and cross-species animal friendship videos. Here’s my absolute favorite: https://youtu.be/I2NOfOeSX4k The joy, the love, the fun between these two that emanates to everyone in the arena.

  33. CS says...

    Paul Mescal neck chain V2 on Thomas Day!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes!

    • L says...

      HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! You win.

  34. Toni says...

    Why you gotta do this to me, Joanna? Tears streaming down my face at my desk on my first day back in person at the office in over a year. Forgot makeup wipes because what even is makeup this year? Guess it’s a good thing we’re practicing social distancing and there is almost nobody else here to witness my emotional puddle.

    • J says...

      Same here, Toni!!!

  35. Rebecca Delaney says...

    Old 30 Rocks!

  36. margaux says...

    oh, don’t mind me, just weeping on a tuesday afternoon.

    • Parisa says...

      Omg me too. I’m practically sobbing. WHY.

    • Sherri says...

      Me too!

  37. A says...

    OKAY that girl’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody. WHAT! Where can I buy her album??

  38. Kiana says...

    Am I the only one who can’t watch stuff like this?? Seeing those kids being nervous makes me feel nervous too. It’s almost unbearable. Eek!

    • MRM says...

      Kiana! I am the exact same way! Talent shows (and things like open mic nights) where the people are nervous or could potentially embarrass themselves makes me feel so nervous and uncomfortable *for them*- I cannot handle it.

    • Amanda W. says...

      You’re not alone! I cannot watch shows like this because I feel vicarious embarrassment for all involved, even if the person performing is subjectively “good.” Not to mention the music usually isn’t my thing. I believe there is a German word for this feeling: fremdschämen.

    • AN says...

      i have a really, really hard time with this, too! i have a really hard time handling situations where someone feels embarrassed and/or awkward. the only reason i watched these videos today was because i felt like they were safe since they were “curated” by joanna – haha! and they were very sweet and not awkward (for me).

  39. Mimi says...

    I can’t seem to stay awake past 9pm, but these just made my day!

  40. Amanda says...

    Oh my gosh, I used to LOVE spiralling into America’s Got Talent videos! I also really love the other international “Got Talent” clips as well. They are so heartwarming! Sometimes they are also straight up depressing, but they still have a feel-good quality.

    A classic from Korea’s Got Talent that will have you in tears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SIxSbTSBTc

  41. Sarah says...

    One of my favourite memories as a new mom was watching this show with my daughter.

    She was about 10 months old and she adored it. She would cheer and clap along with the crowd. She loved the emotion in the performers. She was enthralled with the ballads. In the really great parts, she would look back as if to say “did you see that?”. Then my husband and I would find ourselves cheering and clapping along too.

    I get that babies shouldn’t be exposed to a lot of screen time, and she wasn’t. We made a special exception for America’s Got Talent.

    • Hannah says...

      Sarah,

      I love this!

      Also, you do you. Please don’t feel like you need to explain or justify why your daughter was watching AGT. It brought all of you joy! It brought us joy to read about it! What could be better than that?

      Sending you wishes for more joyful family moments!

  42. b says...

    Frasier and Big Bang Theory are constants in my life right now. I can’t focus on much else, so these two shows that I can watch a dozen times and never tire of are keeping me afloat right now.

    The Voice wasn’t around when I was in college, but this post reminded me of the nights when our friend group would gather in someone’s dorm room or the lounge to study and watch American Idol/The Bachelor/Dancing with the Stars when they were in their early seasons (circa 2002-2004).

  43. Rachel says...

    So weird I was doing exactly the same thing 2 nights ago. These kids are so talented and beautiful. I love watching the parents with their hearts in their throats too. I always end up bawling my eyes out!

  44. Eloise says...

    I just lost lots of sleep watching The Serpent, a Netflix mini-series about a real-life Asian serial killer in the 70’s. The period details and the rivoting storyline make up for the sometimes “eh” acting.

    • Eloise says...

      I also just part of Sunday afternoon watching Shiva Baby, a recent CoJ recommendation, and really enjoyed it!

    • Rachel says...

      My main complaint about the show (recognizing it’s a significant part of the plot) were all the scenes of people vomiting. Like, I get it.

  45. Amanda says...

    “Okay it’s totally fine. Why am I crying?” -JVN

  46. celeste says...

    I try to hit the sack at 10 p.m., but my husband and I are enjoying Frasier, and I think it’s because they developed the female characters more than they did Cheers. Although, they serve lattes in cappuccino cups. Nothing’s perfect :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love Frasier!

    • Emily says...

      Frasier is our forever and ever fave! It’s like a weighted blanket some nights. We still giggle at many of them even though we’ve watched them so many times. And we’ve upped our game and started buying sherry to drink with sometimes haha

    • Erin says...

      Niles saying “Oh, dear God” is one of my most favorite things ever.

  47. Avi says...

    Strange, British, shouldn’t-work-but-somehow-it-does with good writing/ very landscape satisfying/ characters that grow on you show on Amazon/Acorn called “The Detectorists” – I don’t even know exactly why I am so drawn to it but I am resigned to clearly being sunk into their world for a bit in late night escapism for a bit / good companion piece with the Netflix movie “Dig” – archeology/UK/good actors – high on humanity – maybe it’s the ‘has NOTHING to do with my life and issues’ pleasure factor!

    • Rachel says...

      Yes! Love love love The Detectorists. It is love letter to the British countryside and the eccentrics who live there.

    • cg says...

      MY HUSBAND AND I LOVE, LOVE the Detectorists. We even got the soundtrack, we love it so much. Yes, I was yelling because no one else we know know this show or is interested in watching it.

    • gk says...

      Joining The Detectorists club here! SUCH A GOOD SHOW with a good heart, and yes – good music. I managed to convince a few friends/family members to watch it. Haven’t heard a bad review yet! Maybe I should watch it again? :)

      Just started watching Rutherford Falls (Peacock) and Resident Alien (Syfy). Both quirky and delightful in their own ways.

    • M says...

      I, too, am here to say that The Detectorists is wonderful.

  48. Jessica Camerata says...

    These are amazing! I’ve been staying up late rewatching Dexter anxiously awaiting the return of the 9th season!

    xo Jessica

    • Rachel B. says...

      I *just* started watching Dexter for the first time recently and was thrilled to hear there will be a new season soon! What a nice surprise!

  49. Agnès says...

    ahahaha!! I’m totaaly addicted to The Voice, blind auditions videos, they have best ofs (and they include shows from all over the world), and you can sit there for hours! I love hearing those amazing voices.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, they’re incredible!!

    • Emma says...

      Oh my gosh, I do the same thing!! I don’t even watch the actual show, just all of the videos. And oh my goodness Katie Kadan. <33

    • Agnès says...

      oh Emma, I just checked Katie Kadan, how amazing, her voice is so uplifting!!