Performers swarm Bluff City for America's Got Talent auditions

Performers swarm Bluff City for America's Got Talent auditions
Published: Feb. 4, 2017 at 6:08 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 at 7:36 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Producers from the hit NBC summer show America's Got Talent set up shop Saturday in Memphis in an open casting call, looking for the summer's next big breakout act.

"I play just about every instrument, but I never had a teacher," said Tyler Ammerman, who drove in with his parents from Missouri.

Click here to see photos from the AGT auditions.

Thousands of people waited in line at the Cook Convention Center for their chance to impress a first round of judges. While many of them were from the Mid-South, quite a few drove from a long distance to get to Memphis.

"I paint to music, either the lyrics or the storyline of the song," said Gabino Martinez, who drove from Texas.

Martinez represented a rarity in a performer who doesn't sing. His talent is speed painting to music.

"I wanted to be a little different and create my own style," he said.

Memphis is the ninth stop out of ten cities as America's Got Talent prepares for its 12th season. Producers have been in the Bluff City before and said Saturday that Memphis is big on talent.

"There's a lot of history of entertaining in this town, and we always have good turnout, so we decided to come back," said Jason Raff, an executive producer. "There's a little bit of southern charm that we don't get in other parts of the country."

Those who get the green light from the first round of judges will be flown to Los Angeles in March.

"They'll be performing for our judges by the summer. They'll be on national television, and their life could change forever," said Raff.

Sisters Callie and Emily Hines came Saturday to audition because of a miracle treatment in Memphis. Emily is a St. Jude patient, diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia last year.

She's been cancer free since September 7.

"This is what Danny Thomas would have wanted," Emily said. "He would've loved that his patients lived and got to come here, and hopefully one day make it big."

The 12th season of America's Got Talent will premiere on NBC and WMC Action News 5 in May.

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