Sean Lyons noticed early that his grandfather Tom Sylvester would dance in his stocking feet. But after he encouraged him to put his moves on YouTube, he was shocked when producers for a network TV show reached out to him. Immediately. “He probably only had 20 views,” said Lyons, 17.
That was in 2017, and Sylvester went on to perform with Beyoncé’s backup dancers on NBC’s “Little Big Shots” with Steve Harvey. Lyons thought that would be the end of his Pop-pop’s network appearances. Not so fast.
Not only did Sylvester just get thumbs up from all the judges and the host on “America’s Got Talent” in a virtual audition. Now he has an agent, so it’s very possible he could turn pro. At 84. “He’s following his dream,” his grandson said.
Sylvester sent AGT a video about the same time as Steve Harvey’s show. They got back to him with a no. Now they reached out three years later, “asking if I was still interested.” He sent them an up-to-date dance video. “They said because of Covid, they wanted to do auditions online with Zoom,” Sylvester said.
The show sent him music, an oldie, and he was asked to perform in his West Boca living room. He had a slight Zoom issue, but got the hang of it. Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypcPXmV9UOI
He wasn’t nervous after the first 30 seconds. “When I dance, I’m in another world,” he said. He even did an impression of Simon Cowell afterward. “I have goosebumps from my head to my toe. You knocked my socks off,” Heidi Klum told him. Howie Mandel compared his dance moves to James Brown, aka, “the godfather of soul.” Sofia Vergara and AGT host Terry Crews gave him enthusiastic yeses.
Despite the votes, the producer called and said he wouldn’t go to Los Angeles for the next round. “They may use the video for an up-and-coming show, a montage maybe.” Sylvester said he was actually relieved. His family didn’t feel, given the pandemic, it was safe to make the trip. “I’m doing what I love and staying in shape,” Sylvester said.
By Marci Shatzman