Prince Poppycock Holds Court on America’s Got Talent

Coilhouse favorite Prince Poppycock [né John Quale] has finally gotten to strut his stuff for a nationwide audience by auditioning for America’s Got Talent. The Prince slayed it on Tuesday, exposing an unsuspecting audience to his most-recognizable act, Figaro’s Largo al Factotum aria from The Barber of Seville. A dazzling vision in a green satin frock, powdered wig, and white stilettos, he sang to first cautious, then thunderous applause and a profusion of praise from the judges.

Of course he made it to the next round! You can practically see him conquer every heart in that room. I love that Poppycock appears both as John and the Prince, and admire his ability to be down-to-earth and to radiate regal bravado all in one go. And now AGT loves him too, so much that his photo is featured not once, but twice on the show’s page over at NBC.

They don’t call him “Poppycock” for nothing. Bravo, Your Royal Highness!

Just in time for the episode’s airing, on Monday’s midnight Prince Poppycock launched a website with photos, video, a calendar, a diary, and a boutique.

30 Responses to “Prince Poppycock Holds Court on America’s Got Talent”

  1. Bsti Says:

    This was the first time I’d seen him, and I loved it! Especially how warm the response was, as I had feared a narrow minded crowd! Huzzah for Affected Dandyism!

  2. Jessica Says:

    Yes, bravo Poppycock, that was fabulous!!!

  3. Count Hackula Says:

    Oh! He is fantastic! I am extremely pleased that he took it all the way and didn’t give a half performance!
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Tequila Says:

    It’s been a sour day and this most certainly helped to salvage it! Beautiful rendition of a piece I know quite well. So to hear it with his energy and bravado is a real treat. Can’t say I ever watch that show but it’s great to see him get a shot at such a mass audience. Good to see the crowd enjoyed what they heard AND saw! Always a gamble on such shows (plus the ads for this show at times don’t help.)

    I look forward to more.

  5. stephanie Says:

    bravo!!

  6. TiredOrangeCat Says:

    Absolutely brilliant! Been following him for a while (thankyou Coilhouse for introducing his work to me!) and when I saw him take the stage on AGT I cheered from my couch. You could see the looks on everyone’s faces expecting it to be an utter disaster. The doubt was blown away by his amazing voice. The audience was on their feet in a heart beat with one of my all time favorites, The Barber of Seville. You just cannot resist a talented singer and Figaro. It raises your spirit no matter who you are or what your taste in music. I truly hope he makes it to the finals, he deserves it. BRAVO!!! ENCORE Prince Poppycock!

  7. .typhoid Says:

    It’s a fair rendition and he has a good voice, though it would be much nicer (for me) to hear it properly trained for singing opera with more correct Italian pronunciation. Also, his natural range is a little too high to sing Figaro which is a baritone part and he sounds more of a tenor, and the backing music really annoys me when I am so used to hearing this aria accompanied by a proper orchestral pit, but overall it’s nice to see a crowd that was clearly expecting something awful and embarrassing be entirely bowled over by a refreshingly decent performance. And who can’t love his wig? Bravissimo, Principe Poppycock.

  8. Scott Says:

    If you’re going to dress like that, you had better _own_ it–and he did. Bravissimo.

  9. JoAsakura Says:

    Another blog alerted me to the fact that his most fabulous highness was on that terrible show. I was so thrilled to see the clip. YOU GO, PRINCE POPPYCOCK! <3

  10. fortheloveofthestars Says:

    I remember how excited I was when you guys first introduced us to him a ways back, I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Thank you so much for sharing this. He’s so divine. Such talent and stage presence!

  11. Limespark - Please Feed the Bears. Says:

    Nearly fell out of my seat when I saw this- I was introduced to John by none other than Coilhouse (can’t thank you enough!) and I had no idea he’d been on AGT. I guess I know who I’ll be voting for :) Watching the judge’s faces change was magical- watching the crowd rise even better.

  12. Alice Says:

    Like many others, I, too, first found out about Prince Poppycock via Coilhouse, and having had the pleasure of communicating with Mr. Quale several times, I can say that not only is he supremely beautiful and talented, but also super-nice. He deserves all that applause and more.

  13. ANNIE Says:

    He’s not the only coilhouse fav on there. On the previous show they also had tesla coil players.

    But it true, when i saw his majesty i was cheering hard and showing off how i knew about him from my favorite magazine/blog.

  14. Miss Spite Says:

    Love him. So pleased to see him get the attention he deserves. Huzzah for Sharon recognizing fabulous when she sees it!

  15. Ben Blench Says:

    The word “poppycock” derives from the Dutch for “soft shit” – FACT!

  16. angela Says:

    You know, I totally would NEVER have thought of an opera singer coming on AGT. For some reason, I’ve almost forgotten that that genre of music exists, if that makes sense. Same thing happens to me all the time with jazz. Anyone else know what I’m talking about? Anyhoo, this reminded me of how much I truly enjoy opera, and how long it’s been since I’ve listened to it. Fixing that in the morning, however. My drive to school will be very… *ahem* dramatic, to say the least. :p

    He was amazing!!!! I would love to meet him <3 I hope he wins!

  17. Will Ellwood Says:

    Fabulous and fantastic!

  18. octopod Says:

    <3 Prince Poppycock so very much. What a gorgeous, outrageous, luminous, improbable creature.

    Typhoid, above, is right about his vocal range — this is a bit low for him. Has he had any professional vocal lessons, or is he just a self-taught utter badass? His Italian pronunciation would suggest the latter.

    I hadn't even heard of this show before he went on, but I hope he wins the money or recording contract or whatever-the-hell-it-is they're dangling in front of the contestants. (And the crowd LOVED him. That was adorable.)

  19. Kathy Says:

    I hadn’t heard of him before, so this has made my day/week/month. Thank you, Coilhouse, and thank you, badass Prince Poppycock, for introducing such unmitigated joy into my life.

  20. R. Says:

    <3 He was just divine! Oh, Prince Poppycock, you are such a heart stealer!

  21. kitty Says:

    @typhoid – I agree, I’d also much prefer this to be sung by a real opera baritone (Peter Mattei, Hvorostovsky, Hampson, etc.), but it was more of an entertainment version for a Vegas show. He sounds more like a tenor for me too. He was also wearing a microphone so I doubt he could project. But it was fun, and his voice is nice.
    It was nice to see the reaction to Prince Poppycock and if he were to get at least one person go and check out the real thing, that’d be great.

    @angela “I totally would NEVER have thought of an opera singer coming on AGT” – they had “opera singers” in the past (if you call them that since none of them could get a job in a real opera theater) – they had a tenor winning a couple of years ago with not-so-good performance of Nessun Dorma, a tenor in top 5 (who was actually a real opera singer whose vocal cords were damaged in an accident, much better thant he guy who won, but he mostly sang Broadway on the show), a soprano last year (very good voice, but not great technique).

    What bugs me though is that every time an “opera singer” comes to these shows, the crowd goes wild. Yet, there are so many far superior singers singing in opera theaters all over the US and does anybody care? Met HD broadcasts that although sold-out attract mostly ageing audience. And just a few weeks ago there was an absolutely wonderful performance of Carmen from the Met on PBS (with Garanca and Alagna who not only sing wonderfully, but also look great and act well) and most people didn’t even bother to tune in. Oh, and on January 20th, PBS had “The Audition” which was a documentary about Met Council Auditions that showed far far far superior talent than anyone who has ever graced any of tv talent shows, not to mention that it was filmed in almost a “reality tv” format, although much better. Again, most people don’t watch these shows, but as soon as someone who’d be eliminated at round one of any opera competition appears on this shows, everyone is wild. Makes me so sad.

    Good luck to Prince Poppycock though, one thing about AGT “opera singers” – they may result in one or two people actually going to opera.

  22. Tequila Says:

    @kitty The debate as to why Opera is on the decline has filled many articles, blog posts, etc. for some time. The New Republic had an excellent piece about it some time ago if I remember right. It has to be noted that unlike other networks PBS has NO money for advertising beyond its own channels & websites. Often times each PBS channel does not run the same content or even acknowledge a channel a county or city away. In LA for example depending one ones cable provider there are not one but up to I think 4 or so PBS channels. One for LA, one for Orange County, & some in foreign languages. Some get all no issue, others do not. Even more annoying? The HD versions sometimes have different content & time schedules compared to their SD versions OR the HD content is coupled with having the right hardware from the cable provider and cable package. Even going to the PBS site and trying to get a schedule is a pain because of this.

    As a result much of their fantastic content really does have to spread word of mouth. Their news and current affairs shows do a bit better since the content can be streamed or sold…their arts stuff…not so much. Too many issues prevent even their music & arts content from finding a bigger audience. They are trying though as they are really pushing to stream even more content online than ever before. However I think licensing issues still keep stuff like classical & opera performances locked into the content owners call on how its available for purchase after an airing (and how many times it can be aired to begin with.) My issue has always been the piss poor times they put on performances. Either on weekend slots when people are out or worse on nights bigger network shows are sure to be on. Thankfully the age of the DVR helps but as I stated above, it’s still a pain in the ass to even FIND the content in ones city.

    In terms of Opera. Many argue that the problem rests not with an unappreciative audience but with the productions themselves. They can be fantastic on technical and artistic merits but they still want to appeal to a high brow audience. Cultivate that long enough and the long term damage is starting to finally take its toll. I grew up with it due to my parents. I’ve attended quite a few but by and large Opera is not targeted mass entertainment when it should be. Opera compilations for example have always sold better than full operas due to the fact they are easier to digest & enjoy. Opera singers still command that aura of legitimacy, skill, and high end flavor. The fantastic film Diva is built around that aura. Unfortunately as high of a talent pool as modern opera has it’s rare to have productions that are as bold as the talent. It’s becoming an expensive luxury in some eyes & and out of touch art form for others. I don’t quite agree with either statements but I understand the outlook. The problem I see is there is little to no effort put to educate even the mildly interested in an engaging manner. Most of the material on or about Opera is painfully dry, technical, or snobbish. The artfom can be be all that but its SO MUCH MORE. We’ve all seen people light up when they hear a certain piece or follow the story in detail. It was once mass entertainment and can still be. The music has never been the issue, and opera talent has made its mark in pop culture, but the image it has remains too polished for its own good. Thankfully some are trying to break that and even going beyond the established classics both in staging and content.

    Talent is really on a small amount of why TV talent shows work. A lot is really the set up, the audiences sympathy, the story of the performer, etc. TV has honed that to a fine art unto itself. Opera needs that but as much as I enjoy it on TV and home video …it’s not where the artform really thrives. Just like why live theater doesn’t work well when recorded and cut like a movie.

    People stay away for stupid reasons yes, laziness for sure, but a lot of valid reasons also pop up. For a long time cost of tickets, elitism, and a simple unwelcoming spirit dominated. What I hope does not occur is what has happened to Broadway and it’s Disney style and fueled super productions. However MAYBE something like that is needed to get more people aware of Opera today.

    Cause you’re right, there is a difference between opera singers and people singing opera pieces.

  23. kitty Says:

    @Tequila – you make very good points. Indeed the main problem of PBS is that they don’t synchronize programs across the US. Scheduling is a problem too, though, for example, many of the GP at the Met are scheduled on Thursday evenings at 9pm during relatively quiet time. But hardly anybody is aware of it, and having the programs not available everywhere is a problem. I posted about such and such performance once or twice on one forum and people were interested only to find out that it’s not shown in their location.

    In terms of productions, I have mixed feelings there. I cannot stand “regietheater” productions or any production that completely ignores the wishes of composers and librettists in favor of some “concept” that barely makes sense. Some works can be moved to different time (this year Carmen at the Met worked), but others are just silly. Having Victorian ladies and gentlemen engage in a swordfight at the ball or a photographer taking pictures during the famous sextette in Lucia (and distracting from the music) – Met Lucia – is silly. Especially if you understand the words. Some stories barely make sense if you take into consideration sensibilities of time/place (e.g. Sonnambula) but moving it into modern time makes the story completely ridiculous.

    At the same time, having sigers that just stand there and sing doesn’t work anymore. So I’d rather see the production that is staged in time/place intended by the composer but makes the action more interesting – adds interesting details, concentrates on what the performers do and how they act. A silly or ugly production is just as likely to be disliked by younger crowd as a stationary old one. The reason Met Carmen worked is not the updating but the acting. I saw comments on PBS GP at the Met Carmen website and many people said – “I didn’t know opera can be like that”, “I don’t normally like opera, but this was great”. Not sure if you saw it, but this is a scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aakfkGBh-fM

    Similarly, a Carmen that is not updated can work if there is acting, like here in this Royal Opera production: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2XyHfi50yE

    Not to mention that new productions are expensive and even at 100% ticket sales opera theaters barely cover 50% of the expenses. Taking an older sets and costumes but making the action more interesting would save money but also attract people.

    Mainly though, I think is problem is not the productions but lack of music education. There is absolutely no opera or classical music on commercial tv these days, many schools stopped teaching music appreciation a long time ago. This is especially true here in the US, though on YouTube I saw an Italian asking on a Pavarotti’s video “Who is conductiong, Puccini?” Some people genuinely don’t like operatic singing because they are so unused to non-miked voices, but there are so many people who would like it if given a chance.

    There are also operas that are more suitable for beginners than others. A lot of time a person hears an aria or an opera, doesn’t like it, and decides “I don’t like opera” even though another opera would’ve be completely different…

    Another issue is POPera. There are some people who may find a way to opera from popera, but there are people who may listen to it, dislike it, and decide they don’t like opera, even though it’s a completely different genre. But there are so many people today who confuse the two. I think it’s important to distinguish the two.

    For the rest, I do agree with you.

  24. Vivacious_G Says:

    Finally just got a chance to see this. Wonderful in so many ways. I cried.

  25. kitty Says:

    @Vivacious_G – why cry? This is an aria from a comic opera. Or is it the beauty of the music that made you cry? In this case, why not check out how it is performed on stage of an opera theater by a real opera baritone? E.g. Rawnsley, Hampson, Mattei, etc.?

  26. kitty Says:

    @Vivacious_G – if you or anybody are actually interested to what this opera is about and how it is sung on Met stage, search Youtube for Il barbiere di Seviglia Met 2006 videos with Mattei, diDonato, Florez, Relyea, etc. It’s a fun performance and has English subtitles. Will also help people understand what it means to sing on opera stage.

  27. surprised! Says:

    @kitty are you seriously following any buzz Poppycock gets? You have a decent sized vendetta against him, for sure. This is site 2 I’ve seen you on now…

  28. Jason E. Says:

    Gotta second Surprised! here. One wonders if “kitty” lost an audition for AGT, or the like. Perhaps to a flamboyant extrovert? Whatever the case, I can hear the sour grapes bouncing down the information superhighway all the way from here. I’m all for serious dialog about serious opera, but this discussion seems so out of place under this jolly, light-hearted post that I can’t help but chuckle at the wasted vitriol.

  29. kitty Says:

    “One wonders if “kitty” lost an audition for AGT, or the like.”

    Nope, I am a software engineer/researcher with talents in math/cs but none in any of the performer arts. But I am also someone with a passion for opera.

    It just bugs me – and it bugs, saddens and frustrates many an opera and classical music fans that same people who are so impressed by “opera singers” on these popular tv shows are so completely uninterested in checking out the real thing. You can go on YouTube, find an amazingly talented opera singer with under a 1000 views. But the moment a voice major (not prince Poppycock, his is an entertainment act rather than opera act) comes to these shows and gives a mediocre rendition of an opera aria, people go completely wild, say how they’ve never heard anything that beautiful, etc. etc. It’s a bit upsetting, that’s all.

    Incidentally, if you notice, my long post was in response to another post. Also, is it so wrong to let people know how this aria is performed on stage and what the words are?

    As to Prince Poppycock – I think he is fun, he is a good entertainer and he has fine voice for pop/contemporary/musicals. But he should not be called “opera singer” unless he actually has sung in live operas.

  30. kitty Says:

    @surprised and jason: Just add – I don’t think I said anything bad about Poppycock at all. I said he was fun, entertaining and had a nice voice. So why do you say I have vendetta against him?

    The only thing I said is that he wasn’t an opera singer which is not a negative comment but a simple statement of fact. By definition an “opera singer” is someone who sings in live operas not someone who sings an aria into a mike. It’s not a negative, it just refers to the genre of a singer. Or was it because I thought (silly me) that some people may actually be interested how this aria sounds when performed by opera greats or if someone is interested in a subtitled version. What is wrong with that?

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