Watch Billy Porter’s ‘Star Search’ Throwback Performance that Won Him $100K

Jill O'Rourke
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Did you know that Pose star Billy Porter was once on Star Search? Not only that, but he actually won $100,000 for his performance. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel unearthed a clip of Porter’s appearance in an interview this week.


The talent show was hosted by Ed McMahon in the 1980s and ’90s, and featured a number of celebrities before they became famous. That includes Porter, as well as pop star Britney Spears, singer and actor Justin Timberlake, and comedian Rosie O’Donnell.

Porter explained to Kimmel that he filmed Star Search at the end of 1991, and it aired in 1992. When Kimmel mentioned that Britney Spears appeared on the show, Porter excited informed him that she was on the same episode as him, performing “I Don’t Care.”

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Kimmel then showed a clip of Porter, who was 22 at the time, receiving his prize from McMahon. As Kimmel pointed out, he “left Ed hanging” without giving him a handshake. Porter defended himself, saying he “didn’t know he was coming in.”

Porter joked that after taxes, his prize actually ended up being more like $44,000. He said the money “sat in the bank,” but he did use some to get his teeth done. He showed off the results in his interview with Kimmel, saying, “Thank you, Star Search, for my teeth!”

What Did Porter Sing on the Talent Show?

Porter’s winning performance on Star Search involved him singing “A Dream with Your Name on It” by Jennifer Holliday. He hit some incredible high notes during the performance, earning audience applause. Porter sported a very ’90s yellow jacket and patterned vest.


Porter went on to perform on Broadway, winning a Tony for his performance in Kinky Boots in 2013. Since 2018, the actor has appeared on the FX series Pose. He won an Emmy for his role on the show, becoming the first openly gay Black man to win in the Lead Actor in a Drama category.

Pose is ending with a third and final season, premiering May 2 on FX. Porter told Kimmel that the show has had “a glorious run.” He added that they’ve “told the story that we needed to tell.”

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