2022’s Season 17 of the hit TV show America’s Got Talent has seen many highlight moments, not the least of which being a performance by 11 yr old Madison Taylor Baez of Yorba Linda, California. Rather than having a regularly scheduled audition, Madison had been invited by the producers to sing from the audience during one of the breaks from scheduled auditions. Only then was she invited up onto the stage to perform.
She absolutely stunned the audience and judges alike with her rousing, emotionally rivetting rendition of the beloved Christian hymn, Amazing Grace. Madison sang it with authority and passion, as if she believed every word and was celebrating every truth conveyed in the “amazing” lyrics.
So moving was her performance and her “story,” that judge and former Deal or No Deal host, Howie Mandel, reflexively reached for the Golden Buzzer, assuring young Madison a place in the “live show” competitions and a chance to win the coveted $1 million prize.
Accolades gushed (and deservedly so) from the mouths of the host and judges for the quality of her performance.
“Incredible!” exclaimed the shows host, Terry Crewes.
'I normally leave during the break, because people do sing.” famed celebrity host Simon Cowell mused sarcastically. “So this is actually the opposite. It actually brought me back into the room.”
"Everybody is going to know your name now young lady," proclaimed Mandel.
Click here for a video of her AGT audition.
What strong reactions these judges and audience had to this performance!
Crewes found her performance incredible. Cowell was drawn back into the room by the power of it. Mandel exclaimed that he wanted to be sure that everybody would come to know her name.
Yet one critical component of the performance was left utterly ignored … the very subject of the song itself. Young Madison, as lovely and talented and gifted she might be, was extolling the virtues of the God of the Universe, Who, by His AMAZING GRACE, condescended to become the Savior of the world, to seek and to save us wretched, lost souls!
This was of course, as Simon would say, a talent competition, not a church service. But what a picture of the tone deafness of lost humanity!
But for the fact that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world, the audience and judges would have jumped to their feet, first and foremost, to celebrate, laud, and praise the amazing grace of God that was being extolled. That’s what Crewes would have found incredible! It would have been the message of the song that drew Simon back into the room! It would have been the name of the Most High God which Mandell wanted to ensure was recognized by every man!
While human talent is no less a gift from our most gracious God, its purpose, like any “good and perfect gift” should be to draw our focus to the Lord Who bestowed it.
Grace was showcased side by side with the talent, yet no one noticed the grace.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:25, ESV).
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV)