When 12-year-old Ashley Marina was preparing to audition for America’s Got Talent, she certainly wasn’t expecting to sing three different songs. However, that’s exactly what Simon Cowell made the preteen do during Tuesday night’s episode (June 16).
Taking the stage, the Pittsburgh native first bonded with the judge over their mutual love of guinea pigs before trying her hand at Martina McBride’s 2007 hit “Anyway.” However, Cowell immediately asked her to sing something else a capella, claiming the backing track on the country classic was “very overbearing” on the youngster’s voice.
Next, Marina launched into Sia’s “Opportunity” — from the 2014 film adaptation of Annie — but Cowell still wasn’t satisfied, declaring, “Ashley, you want my honest opinion? I think you brought the wrong songs with you today. It’s very difficult for me, I don’t know about the others, to actually judge you on that.”
As the audience boo’d loudly in response to the Cowell’s criticism, fellow judge Sofía Vergara convinced him to let the young girl return to the stage after finding a better song.
Ultimately, the 12-year-old singer opted to perform an original song she’d written about her dad, who was backstage cheering from the wings. “Who’s always there when I need you/ Saving every day/ Who always comes to my rescue/ Whenever I’m afraid/ Who’s the one that truly loves me/ Like no one else in the world/ You’ll always be my hero/ Forever I’ll be yours,” she belted out over simple piano, finally earning a standing ovation from the judges panel, and two thumbs up from Cowell.
Watch the AGT judge put Marina through the ringer below.