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Amanda LaCount, Simon Cowell and The Upside Down

Opinion & News ID - Curvicality Plus Size Magazine
The situation on America’s Got Talent is reminiscent of dancer Amanda LaCount’s signature handstand: Everything is upside down.

If you’ve seen very much of LaCount’s dancing, you’ve seen her handstand. If you’ve seen very much of Simon Cowell, the most iconic judge on America’s Got Talent, you’ve experienced his “notoriously critical reputation.” (Wikipedia’s words, not ours!)

Yet, after judge Heidi Klum hit the buzzer during LaCount’s recent AGT performance, it was Cowell who showed his secret softer side.

“He’s a very harsh and honest judge. So I thought if I was going to have a problem with anyone, it was going to be Simon,” LaCount said. But that wasn’t the case at all. “He was very complimentary. He’s a very nice guy.”

“I didn’t know if all of them were going to like me, but I really was not expecting to get the loud X in the middle of my number,” LaCount tells Curvicality. That buzzer is usually only hit for very subpar performances, not for an act an individual judge simply doesn’t personally find appealing.

But LaCount kept dancing, got an enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience, and is now focused on moving forward.

Heidi Klum Buzzed, but Amanda Kept Dancing

“One person’s opinion doesn’t affect your whole life. I had to let it go and keep rehearsing for the next round, hopefully,” she says.

“I have tried to step it up and impress them as much as I can. Hopefully, I’ll make them regret not giving me all four yeses,” LaCount says. Cowell and two of his fellow judges, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel, gave her a standing ovation after she danced to Todrick Hall’s “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels.” Only Klum voted against her.

“I had never met any of them before. I will say that during the show, I didn’t meet any of them except Simon. He was very, very nice. He came back and had a five-minute conversation with my mom and me. Of all the judges, he’s probably the one I most wanted to impress,” LaCount said.

Though some people have accused Klum of fat-shaming Lacount, Lacont resists making that claim.

“Honestly, I don’t know that much about Heidi. We all know she was a great supermodel,” LaCount says. “A lot of people online are accusing her of body shaming. It’s a tough thing for me to comment on, because body shaming is a hard thing to accuse someone of. But at the same time, I want to make sure it’s clear I don’t have any disrespect. She’s a judge and I went there for her opinion.”

LaCount, 19, has a large and enthusiastic following that has been charmed by her message that dancing is for all body types. She started the #breakthestereotype movement after being told by a past dance instructor that “her body type didn’t fit his vision for the team.”

She has proved her critics wrong, and has danced in Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty” Show at NYFW, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, at Coachella with Lizzo, with Meghan Trainor at the Radio Disney Music Awards, in Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” music video and in Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” music video, among many other high-profile performances. 

She is also a columnist for Curvicality.

Coronavirus College

Now that the coronavirus has shut so many things down, LaCount is taking some online college courses she didn’t have time for before.

“With this whole coronavirus, my schedule isn’t as busy as it usually is. My family is very pro-education.” So she’s studying business management, picking up the knowledge she will need for another of her future dreams: running an inclusive dance studio. LaCount dreams of someday opening a studio that caters to everyone of every body type, including disabled people. “I’ve been talking to my mom about it since I was about 11.”

Amanda LaCount’s Next Round

For the next round, she plans a few changes.

“The first round, I feel like I was really focused on performing. So I wasn’t super-focused on doing crazy, crazy dance choreography. I was more focused on showing my energy and personality to the judges. This round, I choreographed myself, which is exciting because I usually perform other people’s choreography. I really want to show the judges I listened to them and applied their criticism. I really want to show them I’m good enough for AGT and I’m a talented dancer. I’m very excited to show them that.”

Expectations

“This whole experience has been really good. I didn’t go onto AGT thinking I was going to win. I knew I probably wasn’t going to win. Most of the acts that win are singers or big groups.” 

She says she went more for the world than for herself. “I want to share my message with as many people as I can, and AGT is one of the biggest stages in the world. If I can encourage people to love themselves and feel more confident, then I achieved what I came there for.”

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