John Hetlinger Elderly America’s Got Talent Contestant

John Hetlinger

John Hetlinger is the octogenarian who made for one of the mots shocking America’s Got Talent auditions ever.

It doesn’t matter that he flew jets for the Navy and helped fix the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA, for John Hetlinger being on America’s Got Talent means the highlight of his life; that’s what the 82-year-old revealed before going full-throttle on a famous heavy metal song.

John Hetlinger performed Drowning Pool’s 2001 song “Bodies” and left both judges and the audience startled to say the least. His performance aired on NBC’s America’s Got Talent on Tuesday, leaving AGT judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandell and Mel B. ranged from surprise to disbelief to delight. While some went with the flow and even clapped the elderly contestant, others just didn’t know what to make of it.

Hetlinger explained before his powerful take of the heavy metal song, that he only started doing karaoke after he retired, 15-years-ago.

He seems to be very fond of the song, which he performed also in 2014. He posted a video and at the time he gave it the caption, “karaoke at The Glenn 80 yr old man sings Drowning Pool ‘Bodies’!”

Hitlinger, dressed in pleated dress shorts, with the leather belt and tucked-in shirt can be seen singing to  a crowd of patrons at an outdoor karaoke bar.


A video of Hetlinger most recent performance was posted to the Born and Bred Metalhead Facebook page, and has earned more than a million views in just a few hours.

According to his Facebook page, John Hetlinger is married to wife, Marcy Hetlinger. The couple are the parents of two daughters, Mary and Beth, and also have a number of grandchildren.

John is originally form Broomfield, Colorado where he currently resides. He graduated from High School Huron in Huron South Dakota in 1951. He also belong to the 1955 class of SD School of Mines, Rapid City. In 1968 he graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary.

He was a Navy pilot form 1956 until 1959. He worked fro the Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. from July 1980 to April 2001.