Having received Shane Jacobson’s Golden Buzzer on Australia’s Got Talent for his comedy routine in 2019, JJ Pantano appeared on America’s Got Talent: The Champions this year where Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell put him through to the semi-finals and, after being eliminated, he was asked back for the final to interview the judges in his own talk show setting. JJ is currently writing a joke book for children, hosts his weekly Sunday Roast on Instagram, and has released his debut single They Just Don’t Get It, and is currently running a competition for someone to write his next song. Speaking with us, JJ told us about his time on Australia’s Got Talent, interviewing the judges for America’s Got Talent: The Champions and releasing his single They Just Don’t Get It.
How did it feel receiving Shane Jacobson’s Golden Buzzer for your performance on
Australia’s Got Talent?
When I finished my routine I was so happy and excited because the audience was clapping and laughing. All the judges gave me great feedback and said some really nice things which was really nice and then we got to Shane. He is a comedian so I really wanted him to be happy. So, he started giving me this long speech and talking about when he was little boy, how he started his career on the same stage. I was a little bit confused at first but then he hit the Golden Buzzer and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I was just in shock! My mum and dad ran on stage, the gold was flying everywhere. It was a life-changing moment.
What was your experience like on the show and what was it like seeing the audience
response to your performance?
It was epic, and I couldn’t believe it when I got a standing ovation from the audience! When the audience stood up and started clapping and cheering, it was the most amazing feeling I have ever had! I love to make people laugh and it makes me happy when the audience love my performance. The feeling inside was like I was going to burst. I felt very proud.
Can you tell us about appearing on Series 2 of America’s Got Talent: The Champions
and being put through to the semi-final by Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell?
It was great and I remember the feeling that went through my head. I was nervous that I’d get eliminated but also excited that I got the opportunity to go on the show in the first place. When Simon said my name I couldn’t believe it. It was such a dream come true.
America’s Got Talent: The Champions is made up of forty of the best acts from around the world, so to be included in this was mind-blowing. Performing on the same stage as all these talented people was crazy to me. Then to get to perform in front of all the judges and to have the Howie Mandel give me his vote was like wow!!! And then it came up to the final vote to decide who was going through and it was all up to Simon… It seemed to take forever – I was standing on the stage and Simon was looking at us and looking at the audience for their reactions. The audience was screaming my name. Then he finally said “the person we are going to see in the Semi Finals is JJ” I was like – wow, I better breathe. I think I was holding my breath for the longest time. It was such an incredible honour. Thank you, Simon and thank you, Howie. It will be a night I will never forget. I am so, so grateful to be part of the Got Talent family and for the opportunities that show has given me. Thank you, Simon Cowell for creating the best talent show on the planet.
You were invited to appear in the final where you interviewed the judges, how was this?
Wow, I couldn’t believe it. I thought that after I got eliminated that would be it, but then they invited me back to appear in the final show and interview Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Alesha Dixon and host Terry Crews in my own talk show setting. It was so unexpected and such an amazing opportunity. They gave me my own talk show! It was just EPIC. It was so cool to have the opportunity to hang out with each of them. They were all so lovely to me. It was so much fun interviewing them. Another incredible experience.
You are working on a joke book for children, how has this come about and can you say about it?
Everyone always asks me how I started in comedy. I started by telling dad jokes. My fans wanted me to write a joke book so I thought it would be a great idea to write some jokes other kids can use. My dad is helping me write it. It is coming along pretty nice but it’s still pretty confidential so don’t tell anyone about it!!! Haha. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Can you tell us about your weekly Sunday Roast on Instagram?
Yes, that has been going great! So you should check that out on my Instagram @jjpantano and other social media platforms! Every week I deliver a joke or a roast and it’s called The Sunday Roast. My fans really look forward to it.
How did you get into comedy and is it something you’ve always enjoyed?
Yes, I’ve always loved comedy because when other people laugh it makes me happy! I started at kindergarten telling dad jokes and then one day I was at one of my mum’s gigs and at the end of her gig I grabbed the microphone, walked out to the middle of the dance floor and just started telling some dad jokes. Everyone laughed and I just loved it. And that was how it all started. The rest is history.
Where do you get the inspiration from for your routines?
Ok, drum roll please… the internet! BOOM haha.
You’ve released your debut single They Just Don’t Get It, how does it feel releasing music and working on the music video for the song?
Epic. I mean, I’m only eight and I’ve released a song and most singers release a song when they’re, like, 21. It’s a song about kids not getting enough screen time. Working on the music video was so much fun because all my friends were in it. It was a fun day. It’s a cool song and fun video clip.
How did your singing career come about and what plans do you have for future releases?
Well, Simon Cowell inspired me to sing because when he first saw me on stage he thought I was going to be a singer! So, since my mum’s a singer, I thought, why not give it a try? So I came up with an idea for a song and recorded it. I’m going to be releasing another single by the end of the year and I currently have a song contest out there where anyone has a chance to write my next song!
Do you have any favourite comedians and singers?
Well, I love Howie Mandel because he can make anything funny. He can get a shoe and make it funny or a toilet and make it funny. I also love Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey.
I have so many favourite singers, it’s so hard to choose one but my favourite band is AC/DC.
Can you tell us about your YouTube channel and are you hoping to do more interviews like the one with Isaiah Firebrace?
Yes, we’re working on this at the moment and putting together a little series where I interview and roast different celebrities. I love it because they never know what to expect from me and what they’re going to get!
What inspired you to start TikTok and YouTube?
Well, I always want to get in on the new trends, so I just asked my mum and dad to set them up for me.
Where do you hope your career will take you in the next couple of years?
I hope I’ll be working on a Nickelodeon or Disney show! That’s my dream. Movies, comedy shows, my own TV show, performing in musicals… I would like to do it all.
What do you enjoy doing away from your career?
I really like playing Minecraft. I have even set up a gaming page @jjpantanogaming. I also love watching movies with my family. I try to figure out the story before the end and love to watch the other actors. I like building Lego, playing board games, riding my bike… all the normal stuff kids do.
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