The Jewish Justin Bieber?
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The Jewish Justin Bieber?

A 13-year-old Orthodox Jew wows judges and fans on ‘America’s Got Talent’

“Britain’s Got Talent,” “American Idol,” “The X-Factor”… While cynics and critics might claim these shows are essentially the same, recently viewers of “America’s Got Talent” saw a rare sight in the seventh episode of the current season.

In the judges’ audition, 13 year-old Edan Pinchot played piano and sang the OneRepublic song “Good Life,” and if the audience and judge reactions are anything to go by, he sang it very well.

A teenage performance on the show is nothing out of the ordinary, not even one so well-received.  What made Edan’s appearance a novelty is that he appeared on the show as a yarmulke-wearing Orthodox Jew.

Nearly as rare as a religious Jewish boy on a popular reality show was the fact that all three judges for this round of competition are at least partially Jewish. Sharon Osbourne (wife of famous rocker and heavy metal bad boy Ozzy Osbourne) was born Sharon Rachel Levy, the daughter of a Jewish man and Catholic woman. Her two co-judges are widely seen as “high-profile” Jews, radio talk show host Howard Stern and actor/comedian Howie Mandel.

The three were unanimous in their praise of Edan’s performance, which they delivered without making reference to his obvious Jewish-ness. Sharon Osbourne told Edan that he “sang with such emotion. I just want to see more.” Stern followed up, saying “You are so talented, you are so gifted, it’s a yes from me.”  Mandel simply said, “Three yeses. We’ll see you in Las Vegas [the next round of competition].”

In a promotional video that Edan filmed for his religious youth group, the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), the organization referred to him as the “Jewish Justin Bieber,” a moniker that seems to be catching on.

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