Del Mar native advances to next round of ‘America’s Got Talent’


By Rob LeDonne

Votes needed after Aug. 27 show on NBC

Comedian Taylor Williamson, a native of Del Mar and alum of Torrey Pines High School, has advanced to the semifinal round of the hit NBC competition show “America’s Got Talent” after a nationwide vote last week.

“This past week has been crazy,” he explained via phone from New York City. “Every part of it is insane and nerve-wracking.” “America’s Got Talent” is broadcasted live from Manhattan’s famed Radio City Music Hall twice a week.

Williamson, who noted he was a struggling comedian before his big break on “Talent,” was understandably nervous during the Aug. 13 performance show.

“It was the biggest crowd of my life and the biggest show of my life, in one of the most important entertainment venues in the country, if not the world,” he said after advancing. “Not only do I have to impress the live audience and people at home, but I have to impress these judges as well,” Williamson explained, referring to Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Mel B. “At least half the judges are comedians, so I have an advantage somewhat.”

Following his set on the performance show Aug. 13, Williamson thought it went well but figured he was going to be voted off.

“I was positive I was going home,” Williamson said. “Normally I’m insecure about everything, but now it’s at the most heightened degree.”

However, when the results came in, it was revealed that Williamson made it and will advance to the semifinal round of the show which begins on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Williamson said he couldn’t have gotten to this point without people from all over the country voting for him.

“I’ve had people email me and say they’ve stolen every phone in their neighborhood to vote for me,” Williamson explains. “At a family reunion, someone made everyone there vote 10 times each. People are sharing this journey with me and it’s so amazing. I can’t believe people voted for me... to be in the top popular vote is unbelievable.”

Since his career was ignited by appearing on “Talent,” Williamson said he’s already getting treated like a celebrity in public.

“I’m performing in New Jersey this weekend, and on the way to the bus station this guy came up to me and told me I was funny. Later, a car stopped in the middle of the street and girls inside started taking my picture,” he said. “When people say nice things about me, it’s so wonderful and special because six weeks ago I was on the lowest rung on the comedy ladder.”

Williamson said that the highlight of the entire experience is having Howie Mandel and Howard Stern root for him; Mandel even wrote an essay in Parade Magazine praising Williamson.

“He wrote the nicest article and said I’m his favorite act. I’m so lucky Howard and Howie understand comedy, like me, and respect what I do. Now people know who I am and come to see me. At my most recent show, the line to meet me was so long.”

Summed up Williamson: “It’s cliche to say, but I feel like I already won. I have a career again.”

Catch Williamson try to impress the country again on the Tuesday, Aug. 27, episode of “America’s Got Talent” at 9 p.m. on NBC 7 San Diego.

Voting opens following the conclusion of the show.