Sal Valentinetti may have been 20 years old at the time, but he’s an old soul deep down. It wasn’t easy for the judges to tell by the way he talked — his thick Long Island accent made doing so impossible — but they could tell by the way he sang. Sal’s grandmother used to sing with him as a child, and when she passed, he was crushed. Sal turned to his late grandmother’s favorite music for solace. What he didn’t know was that by singing the greats like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald, he was training his voice. After years of singing his grandmother’s tunes, Sal gained the courage to audition on America’s Got Talent. With his big Italian family behind him, Sal marched onto the stage. He was ready to show the judges how much skill he had!
Before jumping into his song, Sal looked at the judges’ panel and said, “I didn’t come here to try out. I came here to win!” A grin spread across Simon’s face and he wished the young man good luck – it was now or never! Sal took a deep breath and pointed for the sound crew to start “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. As soon as Sal began to sing Frank’s famous words, the judges’ jaws dropped. How could such a smooth, classic-sounding voice come from someone who wasn’t even old enough to legally drink?