WATCH 10 Oldest ‘Got Talent’ Contestants Prove Age Is Just A Number

Jill O'Rourke
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Happy birthday to Colin Thackery, the oldest Britain’s Got Talent winner in history! The Season 13 winner is 90 years old. And he’s not the only senior who chased his dream on the AGT and BGT stages.

Over the years, older talents have appeared on Got Talent shows with performances that blew the judges away and proved age is just a number. Check out some of our favorite examples below.

WATCH The Oldest ‘Got Talent’ Contestants

Colin Thackery

This Korean War veteran won the judges’ and viewers’ hearts with his covers of songs like “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” in honor of his late wife. Later in the season, he was joined on stage by fellow Chelsea pensioners singing back-up. Colin was voted the winner of BGT Season 13 and returned to compete in BGT: The Champions. He’s since signed a record deal.


Paddy & Nicko

Paddy Jones is currently 85, but that doesn’t stop her from dancing the salsa with her younger partner Nicolás Espinosa. This pair first wowed the judges with their saucy moves on BGT in 2014. They earned the Golden Buzzer and made it to the finals. They returned for BGT: The Champions, receiving another Golden Buzzer. This year, they appeared on AGT: The Champions Season 2.

Ray Jessel

Who could forget this comedy singer from Season 9 of AGT? At 84, performed on a keyboard and delivered some risqué lyrics that had the audience gasping. Heidi Klum scolded him for teaching the “Penis Song” to her kids. All four judges voted yes to send him to the next round. Ray sadly passed away in 2015, at age 85.

The Cocooners

This group of dancing ladies on BGT ranged in age from 63 to 80. They surprised the judges by ripping off their matronly dresses and busting a tap-dancing move in glittery jumpsuits. The judges gave them a standing ovation and four yes votes to move on to the next round. It’s an important reminder not to judge a book by its cover.

Julia Scotti

This stand-up comedienne was 63 years old when she auditioned for Season 11 of AGT. She revealed to the judges that she was transgender, and lived her first 28 years as Rick. The judges loved her jokes about getting older, and voted to send her through. Julia made it to the quarterfinals.

Rappin’ Granny

All the way back in Season 1, Vivian Lee Smallwood auditioned for AGT as the Rappin’ Granny. She was 73 at her audition, and ended up making it all the way to the Top 10. Vivian started rapping in the ’80s, inspired by her family playing the genre in the house. Sadly, Vivian passed away in 2017, at age 84.

The Zimmers

This band of senior citizens made it to the semifinals of BGT Season 6 with their funky performances. They auditioned with “Fight for Your Right” by the Beastie Boys, and went on to deliver a colorful performance of “Sexy and I Know It.” Judge Alesha Dixon called them “inspirational.”

Edson & Leon

This balancing duo from Brazil auditioned for Season 14 of America’s Got Talent. Edson and Leon amazed the judges with their strength, as they were 54 and 84 years old at the time. Their Up-themed audition in the Judge Cuts had guest judge Ellie Kemper in shock.


John Hetlinger

If you haven’t seen John Hetlinger’s audition for Season 11 of AGT, you’re missing out. Then 82, John said he liked “singing loud and entertaining.” He took his glasses off and launched into a performance of Drowning Pool’s “Bodies.” Heidi buzzed the act, but the other judges voted him through. After the show, he got to perform with Drowning Pool themselves.

Dorothy Williams

This burlesque dancer was 90 years old when she auditioned for Season 11 of AGT. She sang “Let Me Entertain You” and proceeded to do just that, with a striptease that had the audience cheering. Host Nick Cannon hit the Golden Buzzer for Dorothy, sending her straight to the quarterfinals. “A star is born tonight!” he said.

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