'Something that me and my family can be proud of"

Cigi Sparks
Staff Writer

It’s another win for #TeamBenton.

Fans were overflowing with joy after Benton Blount’s audition for season 10 of America’s Got Talent (AGT) on NBC – showing that Blount would continue on to be one of the 80 contestants competing against each other this season.
But after Tuesday’s episode of AGT, “joy” doesn’t accurately depict the emotions that all members of #TeamBenton are feeling.

AGT’s original 80-member pool of contestants that made it through auditions, were divided into four groups of 20 for the season’s rounds of judge cuts. Those groups of 20 were then cut down to seven – leaving 32 contestants standing. There will be a total of four rounds of judge cuts – the final round airing this Tuesday, Aug. 4. The contestants that make it through these rounds will go on to compete in the show’s live rounds, performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The third round of judge cuts aired on Tuesday, July 28 – the round that Blount was featured in. After seeing performances from 20 contestants, the judges sent 13 of those contestants to pack their bags – but Blount wasn’t one of them.

Blount performed the song “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. After the performance, AGT judges praised Blount for his performance, making comments like, “You surprised me and I liked it – you had a solid audition,” and “On the tenth anniversary of America’s Got Talent, if you’re going to sing, you gotta bring it because we’re seeing things like we’ve never seen before. So, if you’re gonna bring out a guitar and you’re gonna show up and sing, then you gotta do it at the level that you just delivered – and you did.”

“It’s kind of mind blowing and amazing at the same time,” Blount said. “I’ve always considered myself to be a small town performer and now I’ve come this far. They started with about 32,000 people, I believe, and now I’m in the last 32.”

Until now, Blount has lived his entertainment career performing in bars throughout the south – causing his wife and 2-year-old son not to be able to attend most of his performances.

Tuesday’s episode of AGT showed the first time that Blount’s son, Jaxon, ever got to see his dad perform.

“Playing this last round in front of my son for the first time was really special and it was awesome to see that he seemed to really know what was going on,” Blount said. “He was clapping and smiling, he gave me a thumbs up when I was done. I really wanted the first time that he saw me perform to be memorable for him and I think that now he’s to the age where he’ll remember it.”

With his family, friends and fans backing him, Blount moves onto the show’s live rounds. The contestants that pass through these rounds are determined solely by fan votes.

“I’m not worried about the performance at all – the stage is where I feel comfortable,” Blount said. The fan voting, I’m a little worried about – not because I don’t have amazing fans, just because there’s always this little scare in the back of your head that says ‘What if they don’t know how to vote or what if they vote wrong? What if someone else just has more fans and gets more votes?”

As the rounds in the competition get more intense, so does Blount’s fan base. Blount has many fans from his hometown of Valdese and surrounding areas, but as this season of AGT continues, his music is reaching the ears of many more people all across the U.S.

“I’ve always tried to be really personable when it comes to communicating with my fans. I always try to message people back on Facebook and respond to their tweets, but just since that episode aired, I’ve had over 5,000 people that I’ve never met sending me Facebook messages and tweeting at me – I try to keep up with it all but it’s hard,” Blount said. “I’ve even had some celebrities tweet me – they’ve all said really nice things. It’s just so heartwarming to see these people take their time and show their support when they didn’t have to sit down and type that message.”

Throughout his journey, from performing in bars to now performing at Radio City Music Hall, one thing’s for sure – Blount has accomplished many things.

“Regardless of how far I make it, I feel like I’ve accomplished something that me and my family can be proud of,” Blount said.

Blount’s next performance on AGT airs live on Aug. 11 at 8/7c on NBC.

To vote, fans need to download the America’s Got Talent app to their smartphones or tablets. More information on how to vote for Blount will be available during the episode.

Also, to help support Blount and his family while traveling, visit www.teambentonblount.com to purchase #TeamBenton merchandise like t-shirts, tanktops and beverage coolers. Proceeds made from merchandise sales go directly to the Blount family to cover travel expenses.

To keep up with Blount on his journey through this season of AGT, follow him on Facebook or Twitter, or visit www.bentonblount.com.