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NEW YORK CITY — "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel jumped to his feet when Alex Boye auditioned in front of him in March (the episode aired in June on NBC) after reacting much differently in 2010 to Boye's performance.
"Howie was just like, 'No!'" Boye recalled. "The crowd started doing routines like, 'Boo! Boo!' It was so bad. I remember getting off the stage and I cried my eyes out."
Boye vowed never to audition for the show again, but talent scouts kept calling, and this year he said yes.
"I don't know why, but I feel like I just need to do it, and I am so glad I did," Boye said. "That is where some of the tears come from. I mean, before I had even finished the song, Howie Mandel was standing on his chair. The emotions were really high because of everything."
Boye said he has received all kinds of offers since appearing on "America's Got Talent."
"We are getting phone calls back from people who would never calls us — record companies, managers," he said. "Now they are all calling back. It is just mind-blowing from the one episode."
KSL caught up with Boye in New York City while he was on tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Singing songs of praise, it grounds you, and it makes you realize what is the most important thing.
"Singing songs of praise, it grounds you, and it makes you realize what is the most important thing," Boye said.
The choir means a great deal to Boye.
"I heard the choir for the first time when I was 16, shortly after I joined [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]," he said. "I was actually going through a really hard time."
The choir was in London performing at Royal Albert Hall.
"I sat up in the nose bleed seats right at the top, where all the choir members look like ants, and I sat there, and the first song they played was 'The Spirit of God'" Boye said. "It was the most amazing feeling. I was so happy."
Boye said he forgot his problems and could feel the presence of God.
"It was the most amazing feeling, and I never forgot it," he said. "So I've always had a deep, deep love and respect and admiration for the choir."
Years later, choir director Craig Jessop chose the song "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" for Boye to perform as a solo.
"I remember when I went into rehearsal, I never felt the same," Boye said. "It was almost like that song was meant for me."
Boye said the song has become his backbone.
"It has saved my life many, many times," he said. "My whole life exists for that one moment that I can eventually stand before my savior and say, 'Here I am. I held on.'"
Whether he is performing at Carnegie Hall, on a nationally televised talent show or in the New York subway, Boye says his music is all about glorifying God.
"I don't see it as a career," he said. "I don't see it as a job. I see it all as a calling for me."
Watch the story to hear Boye sing "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" around New York.
Boye will be back on "America's Got Talent" for a second round, possibly as early as next week. Candice Madsen is a senior producer of Special Projects for KSL TV. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org