Oregon Art Beat

Portland’s Jimmie Herrod finds new fame on “America’s Got Talent”

By Eric Slade (OPB)
Oct. 7, 2021 12 p.m.

His standout performances landed him in the coveted Top 10.

It’s a sunny Friday at Jimmie Herrod’s apartment in the Pearl and he’s happy to be doing nothing, quietly relaxing with his partner Ruslan. After living in a Los Angeles hotel for six stress-filled weeks filming the final episodes of America’s Got Talent, he’s still recovering. Like the rest of the contestants who made it to the final show, “the second we were done performing we just needed to cry,” Jimmie says.


And though he didn’t grab the grand prize, his performances on the show obviously grabbed the country’s attention: producers at NBC say that his dramatic audition video has been viewed by over 40 million people. “I’ve received thousands of messages - my phone has permanently sat at like somewhere between 250 and 300 text messages,” he says. His Instagram account soared from 3,000 to 35,000 followers.

So what’s it like singing on the number one rated show on television? (AGT averages more than 8 million viewers per episode). “The thing you have to remember,” Jimmie says, “is it’s a TV show.” As much as the show’s producers want you to think you’re witnessing reality, it’s just TV. Contestants sign a 150-page contract that includes a lengthy nondisclosure agreement, so he can’t tell juicy behind the scenes details. And mostly, he’s full of praise. “I felt super encouraged by the team that works on the show. They did as much as they could possibly do to support us in making our performance amazing.”

All the new attention has Jimmie optimistic about his future. “AGT, even with all its curation, has put me in front of people who might be interested in exactly who I am and what I offer to music in the world at large. That’s the biggest gift of all -- more people wanting to hear me share my voice with them. And that’s exactly what I’m working on.”

Where will Jimmie be sharing his voice next? At the moment he can’t say, but his last Instagram post came from Las Vegas – maybe it’s a clue…


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