Mitch Rossell loves country music, he loves his dad even more.
The 35-year-old America’s Got Talent contestant stepped into the spotlight for the latest round of auditions, but did so without his much-loved father, who passed away years earlier when a drunk driver took his life. His grandfather and grandmother-in-law also perished in the “freak accident,” Rossell explained in his pre-recorded introduction.
A challenging few years followed. Sometime later, when clarity returned, Rossell decided he’d find a connection to his late dad by learning the guitar. “It was the only thing he ever really asked me to do. I felt like I was kinda making him proud.”
Rossell’s performance Tuesday night (June 6) on AGT would’ve made his dad proud, too.
The East Tennessee native, now a father himself, performed an original song, a tearjerker, a personal story, a letter of love to his late dad.
When he strummed his final note, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, or anyone left sitting in their seat.
“You wrote a beautiful song there,” Heidi Klum remarked. “I feel like everyone in this room was feeling everything you were singing.”
Added Howie Mandel, “the words and the emotion that you sing with, you know, as a father also, I have three kids and the world revolves around you. What a great sentiment, what beautiful words, such simple brilliance.”
Sofia Vergara chimed in, “That was spectacular, your voice was amazing, the song was amazing.”
Simon Cowell admitted he “loved every part of that” – the voice, song. “It was a compliment you could hear a pin drop during the entire performance. And it was sincere. I really really think people are going to connect with you, the song. This was a great audition. Brilliant.”
Rossell has worked with some of Nashville’s finest in recent years, and, earlier, confessed to the AGT judges that his ultimate dream was to “reach my potential. Playing stadiums or something. That’d be amazing.”
He can keep dreaming. Rossell scored four yeses from the judges and progresses in this 18th season.