God-Given Talent

A local choir sings its way to live television
Selected of God Choir on America's Got Talent
Selected of God Choir, pictured above, earned a standing ovation at their AGT audition. // America’s Got Talent Photograph Courtesy of Getty Images

To say that Larry Callahan’s Selected of God choir had made it well before auditioning for season 10 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent would be accurate. In 2011, the gospel singers starred in an Emmy Award-winning Chrysler commercial with Eminem, which aired during the Super Bowl and in 2012, they’d already earned a Grammy consideration for their third album titled Evolution II. They’d even performed with Patti Labelle.

But it was Selected of God’s appearance on the hit televised talent show series that gave them publicity they needed. “We never could have paid for that kind of promotion,” says Callahan. In March of 2015, the 22 members arrived at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, ready to impress the show’s judges.

As America’s Got Talent prepares to bring its show to Cobo Center, Callahan and Selected of God offer advice to the singers, magicians, ventriloquists, and other local talents wanting to audition. “What you see on television is different from what’s going on backstage,” says Callahan. The choir director goes on to share insightful behind-the-scenes intel.

In addition to completing extensive paperwork, Callahan says Selected of God sat on cardboard boxes for 15 hours before performing Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” in front of Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell.  He says they sustained on Subway sandwiches while waiting patiently to be called for the audition.

But that’s typical, says Callahan, who met fellow performers from all over the world while in line. Producers even asked some contestants to switch up their routines at the very last minute. “They’ll throw things at you that you have not rehearsed.”

After four weeks of filming — they made it to the quarterfinals — the choir was sent home.

Nevertheless, their time on AGT paid off. “We were in [millions of] homes every Monday.” For Selected of God, that was well worth the wait.

For more information, visit americasgottalentauditions.com