Could the next champion of “America’s Got Talent” be living in our midst?
James Moore successfully auditioned for “AGT” in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 19. He said he’ll know next month whether he’s made the cut to appear before the judges. If he competes, he’ll be referred to as LJ from Delaware, Ohio. The LJ stands for Little Jimi.
“I’ve been playing a long time,” Moore said. “I’m just a regular guy.”
Moore’s talent is he’s a left-handed electric guitarist, like Jimi Hendrix was. Most guitarists play right-handed. He can also play in a variety of ways, such as with his teeth. He’s an eclectic guitarist, too, able to jam away on rock classics like “Enter Sandman” and “House of the Rising Sun,” to his own originals such as “Crossroads” and genres that include country and gospel.
When he went to the Kentucky International Convention Center for the tryout, Moore was told to dress professionally. Moore dressed to impress, wearing a sequined blue blazer, a snazzy hat, and his good sneakers. He also brought a black Ibanez electric guitar and a small amplifier. And with his long gray hair, the 63-year-old LJ was one of those picked from the crowd during the open call.
“They said, ‘You’ve got it going on,’” Moore recalled the show’s producers telling him. “I said, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’”
After playing on stage, Moore said he signed autographs and did an interview with local television station WAVE. Moore said he is a big fan of “AGT,” as well as the season 14 champion, Kodi Lee, and regularly watches past episodes.
Moore, who recently retired as the manager of a car parts business, said he has lived in Delaware for 30 years. He’s a Blackfoot Native American originally from Montana. He’s quick to thank his parents for making sure he had music lessons. The word “blessed” and its variations are spoken frequently by him, with humility and kindness.
The basement of Moore’s home is a genuine man cave and recording studio, rolled into one. Amid a basement filled with Indian regalia, a Marshall amplifier stack, multi-track recording equipment, guitars and effects pedal board, graphic equalizer, wired and wireless microphones, pinball machines, pool table, OSU rug, drum machine, and a graphic equalizer; there is a banner and decals for Forgotten Pain, the rock band Moore is in. Moore said the band opens for name acts and does benefits for veterans’ families.
After demonstrating his guitar talents in the garb he wore to the audition, he shared footage his girlfriend shot backstage that appears on his Facebook page: Jim R Moore. After showing off his past awards, the conversational topics flowed from him in fast succession, like a guitar solo — Moore speaks of having the best brisket he’s ever had in Louisville, being a Moose member, having friends tell him he hasn’t changed in demeanor, and wanting to perform again at the Delaware County Fair.
“I’m not worried about the million dollars,” Moore said when asked about winning “AGT.” “I just want to entertain the world.”
The next season premiere of America’s Got Talent is Jan. 6 on NBC.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.