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Reality show judges concur: Cedar Rapids native has talent

Andy Rowell cracks up panel with 'Tequila' on 'America's Got Talent'

Cedar Rapids native Andy Rowell, a writer and comedian now based in Chicago, steps into the audition spotlight on “America’s Got Talent.” The episode aired Tuesday on NBC-TV. (Trae Patton/NBC photo)
Cedar Rapids native Andy Rowell, a writer and comedian now based in Chicago, steps into the audition spotlight on “America’s Got Talent.” The episode aired Tuesday on NBC-TV. (Trae Patton/NBC photo)
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Cedar Rapids native Andy Rowell wowed the judges in a most unusual way during the “America’s Got Talent” auditions that aired Tuesday night on NBC-TV.

Simon Cowell leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms in disgust when Rowell said he was going to “do some karaoke singing.”

When the music for “Tequila” kicked in, Rowell, a writer and comedian now living in Chicago, deadpanned his way through the song by uttering the title word just three times at the appropriate spot in the bouncy instrumentals.

Audience members were up and dancing to The Champs’ 1958 chart-topping tune that found a new audience on the 1985 movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” Even host Terry Crews was doing the Pee-wee Herman dance in the wings offstage.

After Rowell uttered “tequila,” Cowell, always a tough judge, started clapping and smiling. By the end of the song, Cowell collapsed in laughter, saying, “I’d like to hear the whole album, actually. It was so stupid, I loved it.” Later, he deemed the act “brilliant.”

“It’s so wrong it’s right,” judge Gabrielle Union added. “I want to see what the next song is.”

All four judges — including Julianne Hough and Howie Mandel — gave Rowell a resounding “yes,” to move him on to Round 2.

“America’s Got Talent” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC.

l Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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