In singing competition shows, there are many aspiring stars who have always dreamed of being on stage. America’s Got Talent has seen many tragedies of talented contestants gone too soon after their heartbreaking deaths.
A total of 16 seasons and two spin-off competitions. America’s Got Talent has become one of the most well-loved singing competition shows on television. Many performers have touched the hearts of the audience and judges with their voices, personality and their sense of humour. Also, their undeniable talent is almost always something remarkable.
However, there are some tragedies and deaths that rock the reality show America’s Got Talent.
In memory of those who have tragically passed, we take a look back at their moments on the show and their talent which will always be remembered.
America’s Got Talent’s tragic deaths as we remember stars
5. Grandma Lee (Frances Lee Strong)
The comedian Frances Lee Strong, best known by her stage name of Grandma Lee, became a superstar. After losing her husband in 1995 to cancer, Strong went on to attend a local comedy workshop to help her cope with her tragic loss.
Grandma Lee first auditioned in America’s Got Talent back in 2009. The viewers and judges fell in love with her sense of humour. After being sent to Las Vegas for the quarterfinals and finals, the then 75-year-old talented comedian placed fifth position of season four of America’s Got Talent.
As per the former contestant’s biography on AGT, it says: “Her goal on America’s Got Talent is to help older people realize that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.“
10 years later after her iconic journey in the American talent show, Grandma Lee passed away at the age of 85, in 2020. The cause of her death was a broken hip that the comedian never fully recovered from. His son Kelly told the media outlets that she fell in her hotel room after one of her gigs.
4. Nightbirde (Jane Marczewski)
Known as Nightbirde, Jane Marczewski’s outstanding audition and her story touched the hearts of many, including the judges. She impressed so much that Jane was rewarded the aspiring singer with a golden buzzer.
Nightbirde sang an original song titled “It’s Okay”, which now has more than 46 million views, reports NBC.
After being sent to the quarterfinals, the then 30-year-old contestant announced she would be withdrawing from the competition after her health had gotten worse. Marczewski appeared in the series to give an explanation and to share her thoughts on her decision.
Six months later, her family announced the singer had passed away in February 2022 after battling cancer for four years. It was almost two months after her 31st birthday.
America’s Got Talent honoured the singer until the end of the ‘Auditions 2’ episode with a card that read “In Memory of Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski.” The family then celebrated her life in her Ohio hometown.
3. Dr. Brandon Rogers
To cope with the stress of working in medicine, Dr. Brandon Rogers sang and recorded his own videos. After being discovered by the producers of America’s Got Talent, the singer auditioned for the 12th season of the talent show.
After he was sent to the Judges Cut, the singer was eliminated from the competition. An exact reason was never shared as he got edited out from the episodes.
The tragic death of Brandon Rogers shocked many millions of viewers at home, as well as the judges themselves. Days before his audition was broadcast on television, the aspiring singer was killed in a car accident.
It was reported that of the three passengers in the car, Brandon had been the only one who did not survive due to his serious injuries. He passed away the next day in hospital at the age of 29.
As to Hello Magazine, his audition was released on television as per the request of the late Doctor’s family to remember him.
2. Neal E. Boyd
The opera singer wowed the judges, the live audience, and millions of people watching from home. His angelic voice was easily taking him from round to round. He received many votes from the viewers at home that were never getting enough from his tempo.
Neal was rewarded by becoming the winner of season three of AGT and taking home the whopping amount of $1 million as well as headlining the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Sadly, the tragic news of Neal’s death was announced, and the star passed away due to heart, kidney failure, and liver disease at the age of 42. The devastating news left many fans heartbroken in 2018.
Fans still remember Neal as one of the best opera singers that have ever stepped foot on America’s Got Talent stages.
Paul Poots, Britain’s Got Talent winner and participant of AGT: The Champions, tributed Neal as both were good friends and even toured 10 cities together before his death.
1. Nolan Neal
A recent and tragic America’s Got Talent death includes country singer Nolan Neal.
Neal gained fame through his auditions on America’s Got Talent and The Voice. Indeed, the singer had a lot of talent. Singing an original song called ‘Lost’ about his journey with addiction and getting clean, his performance received a standing ovation from the public and the judges.
His talent took him all the way to the quarterfinals, where he sang another original song ‘Send Me A Butterfly’. Though the public loved him and wanted him in the finals, judges Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel decided to eliminate the singer from the competition to save another contestant.
Nolan’s journey in AGT wasn’t the first time that impressed the judges. He also appeared on season 10 of The Voice, wowing Miley Cyrus and Adam Levine, who picked him to be on his team. Nolan was eliminated in the knockout round.
During an interview with WBIR, the singer admitted to struggling with addiction while he was competing on The Voice. However, during the covid-19 pandemic, the singer was said to be “clean” and playing with his cousin Dylan.
As per TMZ reports, Nolan was found dead in his apartment in Nashville. It’s reported he passed away on Monday, July 18, 2022. An exact cause of death has not yet been announced.
If you’ve been affected by this story you can contact American Addiction Centers on (877) 686-7688 or Talk To Frank on 0300 123 6600 in the UK.