kevinskinner americasgottalent 290 'America's Got Talent': 5 questions with Kevin SkinnerDuring rehearsals last Friday (Sept. 11) for the big finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” airing Wednesday, Sept. 16, competitor Kevin Skinner — the 35-year-old Kentucky “chicken catcher” with the soulful country voice — took a break on the set to talk a bit about himself (something one suspects he’s not used to doing).

What’s with wearing the baseball cap backward, like you did in your audition, and like you’re doing today?

“Back home, it’s very rare to see me without my hat, unless it’s something formal, like a wedding. It’s something that only I would understand. It’s my frame of mind, like, when you’re getting down to business, you turn your hat backwards.”

“Britain’s Got Talent” runner-up — and YouTube sensation — Susan Boyle is performing on Wednesday’s finale. Are you excited about that?
“Oh, really? That’s great. If she’s going to be here, I’m hoping I get to hear her, because she has an extraordinary voice. All you can say is, it’s God-sent. God equipped her with that gift to please people.”

Who do you think is your biggest competitor among the remaining singers?

“I guess I would have to say [opera singer and cancer survivor] Barbara Padilla. All of us, we’ve went up a couple of hills, had to cross a couple potholes, dips in the road, to get here. I feel like everybody’s equal in paying their dues, as far as coming this far.”

You sang a song you wrote about your grandmother, called “Her Stone,” for your initial audition, but chose Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” for the first televised audition. Why?

“For some reason, that song was my grandmother’s favorite song. Anything I’d go to her house, she’d always demand — anyone who showed up, she’d offer them a meal; she would cook a hot meal for a stranger off the street — she would always ask me to play that song. I remember playing it to her so many times.”

What did you listen to growing up?

“When I was little, I liked KISS for some reason. I was born in ’74, and I remember KISS had come along big. I’d always jump around, do the tongue motion — just three or four years old. Of course, I could take my guitar out right now and play you ‘Beth.'”

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Posted by:Kate O'Hare