Charles Darwin. The Wright Brothers. Emily Dickinson. Lady Gaga. Bill Gates. Sheryl Sandberg.
What do all of these folks have in common?
They have all failed spectacularly before achieving historical success. So it stands to reason that if we keep failing, eventually we’ll find success, right?
On America’s Got Talent, he’s been auditioning on the show almost every year since 2018, hoping each time to make it to the live show. On season 16 he finally got there with his rendition of a peacock, but even after a fiery performance as a phoenix, his efforts to win were still thwarted.
He’s not only failed in front of a massive audience for the broadcasted auditions, but his auditions are some of the most popular videos on YouTube, with his most recent performance on AGT All-Stars getting millions of views across various channels.
Last night were auditions for the 18th season of AGT, which are nearly wrapped up with only one more to go before the live show begins on Aug. 22. Many are wondering if we’ll see Sethward again this season.
The Canyon, Texas, native spoke with the Standard about his failed performances and what keeps driving him. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: For those who aren’t familiar or don’t watch the show, give us a sense of what your act is and what your tenure’s been like on AGT. I think you’ve been a giraffe, a walrus, a peacock, a phoenix, right?
Sethward: I’m a professional animal impersonator. Take that for what you want it to mean, but it has been quite glorious and I essentially make all of these animal costumes and do a lot of physical comedy on stage, which usually ends up me falling over myself or on things.
But that’s just it, I think a lot of people can’t understand coming back and back and back for the ignominious defeat. I mean, it’s almost kind of expected by a lot of your fans, but that’s part of the fun and the love. What’s going on, do you think?
Yeah, I think that maybe I’m a sucker for pain – maybe I’m a masochist – I don’t know.
But you must have given this some thought. What was it that drew you to AGT in the first place?
I think that it was the stage. I love getting up in front of people performing and that’s a show that is riddled with a formula. It’s got this extreme framework that people can come in, and in clowning that’s one of the best tools that you can use to perform – is have some kind of a structure that you can go in there and really mess up.
And sure enough, that’s exactly what I was able to do – is take the structure that everybody knows and loves, which is somebody with some deficit or problem in their life goes on stage and is rewarded by their glorious talents, and celebrities give them the confidence they need to overcome their trials and tribulations.
So if an idiot goes on stage without anything but a smile and a dumb idea, you get ripped up. But in the process, it’s the funniest thing that could ever happen.