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Astoria puppet makes it to next round of ‘America’s Got Talent’

Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC

One unique Astoria native wowed three out of four judges with more than just his voice on the season premiere of “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday night.

Ira, a 32-year-old singer, was one of the contestants to take the stage on the reality competition show which kicked off its 10th anniversary season on NBC.

Along with his tunes, one thing makes Ira stands out from other competitors – he’s a puppet.

According to Ira, he grew up in Astoria and lived there for about 29 years before deciding to make the move to Los Angeles with his mother, who wanted to chase her dreams of being a singer. However, the dream then became Ira’s and after just singing as a favorite pastime, he decided to take it to the big stage.

“I thought it would be a great platform to not only share my singing with the world but also profess my love for Mel B,” Ira said about the decision to audition for “America’s Got Talent.” “I think she’s the most beautiful thing.”

During his performance, in which you never see the puppeteer who gives the puppet life, Ira chose to sing Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” specifically for the former Spice Girl Mel B, who judges the show together with Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.

His performance received a standing ovation from audience members and smiles from all four judges. His mother, a lavender-colored puppet, was also present watching her son perform while standing backstage with host Nick Cannon.

Mandel told Ira that although he wasn’t the best singer in the world he did move him and the audience with his performance.

Fellow judge Stern also agreed that Ira’s performance moved everyone listening to him sing and even gave him an idea on what to do if he won the $1 million at the end of the show.

“Like Howie said you might not be the best singer but you know some people move us. I’d love to see you win a million dollars and move out of that apartment with your mother and stop rubbing her big feet,” Stern said. “You provided us with something that we love here on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and that is romance. Mel B was loving it.”

Although the former Spice Girl got out of her seat and took the stage to give Ira a kiss, she was the only judge of the four to give the singer a no when it came down to making the decision of moving him to the next round.

“Ira, it was a lovely kiss, but I’m going to have to say no,” she said.

Her no was met with boos from the audience and made Ira look down in disappointment. However, although Ira said he was heartbroken that “the love of his life” didn’t give him the answer that he wanted, he walked off the stage hoping he has the chance to change Mel B’s mind in the next round.

“It was scary and then I saw her sitting down there, behind her unilluminated X and she was gorgeous and then it was only she and I,” Ira said. “She didn’t give me the yes that I wanted but it’s the challenge for me to win her heart and get her approval.”

The next round, which will be judge elimination, is set to air in July.

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