Louisiana native Ben Waites needs votes to stay on 'America's Got Talent'
"America's Got Talent" judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel chose 54 acts out of 138 to advance to the live shows that start next Tuesday.
America gets to vote for one of four performers to be the on the 55th act on the show in a Wildcard Save. One of the is Ball native Ben Waites. Voters have until 6 a.m. Central time Friday to vote for their favorite act. To vote, visit agt.vote.nbc.com
All 55 acts will be competing for $1 million and a chance to perform at "America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live" at the Luxor in Las Vegas.
"I need y’all’s help!!!," posted the Southern gospel singer on his Facebook page. "America’s Wildcard Save is open!"
Fans of Waites were quick to cast their votes.
"10 votes already cast for you, Ben Waites from us!," posted Debbie Gilmore-Steve Flowers of Bossier City on Waites' Facebook page.
"Voted from Pollock," posted Tammy LaCour Roshto.
The other three performers up against Waites are Debbii Dawson, Jordan Conley and Auzzy Blood.
Local performance:'America's Got Talent' singer shares message, music at Pineville church
Waites made national headlines with his first appearance on AGT singing a rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" that brought judge Sofia Vergara to tears. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and three "Yes" votes from Vergara, Klum and Cowell.
The 33-year-old Tioga High School and Louisiana Christian University alum was the guest minister and singer Sunday at Christian Challenge Worship Center in Pineville.
"We've had Ben here several times in the past," said pastor Nathan Martin. "It's great for him to come back and for the community to hear him perform."
He reminisced about growing up singing and traveling with his grandfather's quartet, the Pine Ridge Quartet.
Some songs he performed included "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," Hank Williams' "House of Gold," and "Whiskey Drinking Preacher."
"I loved to hear you sing Sunday morning. I have had a smile on my face since talking to you Sunday morning. You are amazing. Can’t wait to come hear you again!!!!" posted Betty Stepp on Waites' Facebook page. She was his kindergarten teacher at Mary Goff Elementary School.
"I will definitely be watching!!!! You are such an inspiration! I'm so glad that I got to see you live at Life Church Sunday night!!! I will definitely be following you!" posted Donna Payne of West Monroe.
Did you catch his audition? "America's Got Talent" features Ball singer Ben Waites
Waites graduated in 2007 from Tioga High School and in 2010 from Louisiana College, now Louisiana Christian University.
Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, Waites uses a wheelchair.
"Interestingly for me, growing up with something like this, being born with it, it's the norm," said Waites in a previous Town Talk interview. "It's a day to day thing. I don't give it a lot of thought which in turn means I don't talk about it a whole bunch. People typically have to ask about it."
Waites now resides in Nashville with his wife Natalie, where he is a Southern gospel singer and vocal coach. But he does perform in Louisiana from time to time, primarily in Monroe.
He says he's usually singing in a church, a conference, revival or homecoming several days each week.
Waites has six CDs out and he's working on a new project.