Lady Gaga is so over the top so much of the time that covering her songs is a hard hill to climb for any artist. But that didn’t stop Nashville’s Jesse Kramer from strutting out onto the America’s Got Talent stage on Tuesday (June 23) to offer up a unique version of Mother Monster’s hit “Bad Romance.”
Looking like a lost grunge rocker from the ’90s with his long, stringy blond hair, eyeliner, eyebrow ring and burgundy leather jacket, Kramer surprised the panel. He offered up a slow-burn, dirgey take on the pop hit, accented by his gothy, angsty vocals and tasteful, bluesy finger-picked electric guitar.
The performance earned him a standing ovation from the studio audience and kudos from lead judge Simon Cowell, who predicted that some people will probably ding Kramer as not sufficiently rock ‘n’ roll for singing a pop song on a TV talent show. “I actually really, really enjoyed your audition,” said Cowell. “You have my respect for coming on here and doing that.”
Fellow judge Sofia Vergara also loved it but wondered why that song. “I want to take a risk,” explained Kramer. “I want to give all I can with something that’s a little more current.”
Howie Mandel was less impressed, saying he was bored and, as Cowell predicted, that he didn’t think it rocked sufficiently. But Mandel did think it was good enough to give Kramer a second chance.
Watch Kramer’s performance below.