When a gospel choir’s rendition of an Aerosmith song wowed judges of “America’s Got Talent”, a Middle Georgia man was center stage.
Elijah Bell, 29, of Warner Robins, broke out in a solo about a minute into the performance of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” on the NBC show Tuesday night.
“I don’t want to miss one smile. I don’t want to miss one thing,” he sang.
Bell, who grew up in Byron and has lived in Middle Georgia nearly all his life, regularly leads worship for Macon’s Beulahland Bible Church.
He met the founder of DaNell Daymon & Greater Works during Church of God by Faith conferences and was drafted to perform with the gospel group that originally formed in Seattle and branched out to Washington D.C.
“I’ve been knowing him all my life,” Bell said Wednesday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “He would watch me from afar and called me one day and asked me to be a part of the group.”
Members come from all over the country.
“It’s so amazing to me because I’m the only one from Georgia,” Bell proudly said.
Bell, who also works at Pactiv in south Bibb County, rehearses with the group via Skype.
He’s extremely grateful to his bosses at the packaging plant and his church who have allowed him to travel to the West Coast for the show.
“My jobs have been very supportive,” he said, but it’s been difficult being apart from his family.
Bell and his wife, Kayce, have three children — a 3-year-old boy, Jayce and older twins, Jayla and Kayla.
He has plenty of fans at Stratford Academy, too, who remember him from his days working in the kitchen.
“I was a dishwasher, just like Little Richard,” Bell said. “That’s part of my story. I’m really grateful.”
Bell was overflowing with thanks for all those who have supported him and voted for the group on the contest that carries at $1 million prize.
“I just want to stay here in this moment for the rest of time,” he belted out during Tuesday night’s performance that could send them to the next round.
“If we make it to the finale, we’ll need everyone to vote again,” he said.