Through all the seasons of "America's Got Talent," viewers have come to expect just about anything from the acts that make it to audition before the judges, but nobody could have foreseen the shockingly cute-but-hilarious one-man singing act that anchored the audition round on Tuesday night's episode. Ray Jessel, all of 84 years young, wowed the judges with his songwriting and lyrical content, his stage presence and his sense of humor. It very well could have been the greatest audition ever of all of the "Talent" shows. And he did it all with an original song about a "friend" of his dating a girl with a penis.
(If you didn't see that last line coming, you're basically in the same position everyone watching "America's Got Talent" was in after the unassuming, gentle-spoken, well-mannered elderly gentleman introduced himself Tuesday evening. So, now that you're caught up...)
As Sarah Barness at Huffington Post noted in her recap of the naughty ditty on July 2, "Warning: This catchy song might get stuck in your head from now until the end of time."
As the shocked looks and dropped jaws gave way to laughter, Ray Jessel, who had already won over the crowd with his humble and bumbling old man schtick (which probably was no schtick at all), simply pulled the judges and audience back in with his catchy, well-written song, which was pretty good even without the lyrics inspired by a "friend" who really liked the girl he was dating -- except for that thing: "... she's got a penis."
In the run-up to his performance, Jessel was everything a perfect grandpa (or even great-grandpa) could be. He his reverse mohawked Albert Einstein-like hair and his shambling gait, he was the quintessential adorable old man. He was even a doting husband with a romantic flair, chastely kissing his wife for the cameras. And he insisted he wrote his material "from the heart."
And he didn't even start performing until he was 72. (Another auditioner, Frank the Singer, waited until he was 74 before he performed -- right on the "America's Got Talent" stage.)
It would seem that 84-year-old heart is attached directly to a part of Mr. Jessup far less pure than his wife-loving heart. It's also attached to his funny bone, it would seem. Regardless, his song, "What She's Got," was vaudevillian throw-back that thoroughly entertained.
Judge Howard Stern said the little old man was a breath of fresh air.
He got four "yeses" from the judges and moved on to the next round. Wonder what he'll sing about next?
Until then, be very careful when viewing Ray Jessel's audition. The lyrics "...she's got a penis" are extremely catchy -- very hummable and/or singable. So be mindful of this naughty little tune playing inside your head as you're milling about at work and keep it sequestered somewhere away from your lips.
You have been forewarned...