Mormon composer Rob Gardner and his orchestra, Cinematic Pop, were shown auditioning for NBC's hit reality show "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night. The group performed an interpretation of Tears for Fears' hit song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and received four "yes" votes from the judging panel, advancing them to the next round of auditions.
Gardner is a composer, producer, conductor, Brigham Young University graduate and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is best known for his religious oratorio "Lamb of God." His current project, Cinematic Pop, combines classical music with popular rock and pop songs, ranging from Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" to Awolnation's "Sail."
Gardner took center stage to conduct the "AGT" audition, which aired partially as the show returned from a commercial break 20 minutes into the episode. Vocalists McKenna Breinholt and Spencer Jones were backed by a dozen classical musicians and a 23-voice choir as they belted out their unique rendition of the hit song from 1985. The orchestra received a standing ovation from the crowd as the arrangement drew to a close.
During the audition phase of "America's Got Talent," an act must receive at least three "yes" votes from the judges to move on to the next round. All four judges agreed that Cinematic Pop was worthy of another audition, and the group was unanimously voted through.
This year's judging panel consists of returning celebrities Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Melanie "Mel B" Brown, who are joined for the first time by notorious talent critic Simon Cowell, one of the show's executive producers.
Mel B was particularly impressed by the performance. "So dramatic and mysterious!" she said. "You actually transported me somewhere. I absolutely loved it! I could listen to this all day long."
"I like them," Cowell said as the group walked offstage.
"Yeah, they're good," Klum said in agreement.
Some viewers at home took to Twitter to express their approval of the performance, including user @authoridad, who tweeted, "Totally just tried to Shazam that version of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, thinking it was a recording. #AGT."
"America's Got Talent" airs on NBC on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. Mountain Time.