Patchogue’s Christian Guardino stole the show on Tuesday night’s episode of America’s Got Talent. The 16-year-old, who is sight impaired, earned the golden buzzer for his performance of the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You” and is guaranteed a spot in upcoming live shows.
Even Simon Cowell, perhaps the bluntest judge in reality talent show history, was impressed, telling Guardino he was “like a little mouse that turned into a lion.” He added: “You’re one of my favorite contestants I’ve seen this year.” Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown gushed, “You’re like a bright light that just showed us all” and supermodel Heidi Klum told him, “You have an amazing gift.”
Guardino could not see for the first 12 years of his life due to Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disease that primarily affects the retina. He regained some of his sight when doctors at Pennsylvania’s Scheie Eye Institute performed an innovative treatment that integrated a healthy gene into his eye.
Guardino has been a fixture on the local scene since he tied for first place in the children’s category at the Apollo Theater’s Super Top Dog amateur night in November 2014. He sang the national anthem at a New York Islanders playoff game last year.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8pm.