LAS VEGAS -- Sikeston native Neal E. Boyd performed as one of the final 10 contestants on NBC's "America's Got Talent" Wednesday night. Tonight he'll find out if he stays in the live competition or if he's sent home without the $1 million prize.
Boyd stepped out of his normal genre, taking on the pop song "All By Myself." All three judges said after the performance that Boyd started weak, but finished strong on the tune's bombastic climax.
All three -- Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff -- commended the power of Boyd's voice when the singer unleashed his full tenor.
"Right now you're absolutely the frontrunner," Hasselhoff said.
The show's theme was "Heroes Night," and Boyd dedicated his performance to one of his childhood heroes, former Sikeston choir director William Grega. Grega was the man who heard Boyd imitating Luciano Pavarotti as a student and convinced him to sing in the choir. Boyd, who labeled himself an unpopular "fat kid" as a child, said it was his singing prowess that finally made others accept him. Boyd went on to study opera at Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri.
Tonight, five of the final 10 will be eliminated, based on audience voting. The "America's Got Talent" results show airs at 7 p.m.