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Why AGT Fans Wanted an Encore from This 59-Year-Old with 1 Million TikTok Followers

The man known as the "Old Grey Guitarist" shocked the America's Got Talent Judges and audiences with his guitar performance. 

By Caitlin Schunn

Looks can be deceiving, and a soft-spoken gentleman from the United Kingdom stunned the America’s Got Talent audience when he pulled out his electric guitar and started jamming.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 19 premiere of America’s Got Talent Tuesday, May 28 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

Judge Howie Mandel called the act “so surprising” and “so unexpected,” and the man himself, John Wines, called what happened “unbelievable” and “the surrealest day of my life.”  

Who Is John Wines?

The 59-year-old from the southern UK calls himself the “Old Grey Guitarist.” He revealed on AGT that he teaches guitar to kids ages 5 to 18, adding, "The kids keep me young.”

RELATED: The Beautiful Reason Howie Mandel Keeps Doing AGT — Even Though He’s "Jaded"

He did have an unusual start to his career.

John Wines performs on the Americas Got Talent stage

“I used to be an electrician, but 20 years ago a chance meeting with someone said, ‘You should go into teaching,’ and I did,” Wines told the Judges and audience. “Now I’m here and I can’t believe it.”

On his website, Wines said his guitar students have “shared the stage with Joe Bonamassa and Bernie Marsden, amongst others” — two famous guitarists from America and the UK respectively.

Was John Wines Famous Before AGT?

You may have seen the Old Grey Guitarist’s popular songs and lessons on Instagram or Tik Tok. Wines said on his website he went viral last September, after about a year on social media.

He has 178,000 followers on Instagram, and a whopping 1.3 million followers on TikTok.

RELATED: Why the Judges Loved Avantgardey's "Weird" and "Genius" AGT Audition

Wines said on his website he’s now an official artist with guitar company D’Addario, and “offers of work and other endorsements are now flooding in with his newfound fame.”

John Wines performs on the Americas Got Talent stage

If you’re a fan and want to rep Old Grey Guitarist yourself, T-shirts, jumpers (sweaters), and even tote bags are available on his website.

The John Wines Audition That Got the Audience Chanting for an Encore

In true “never judge a book by its cover fashion,” Wines grabbed his axe and absolutely shredded “We Will Rock You” by Queen, causing the audience to ask for an encore as they chanted, “We want more.”

Judge Simon Cowell said he “was not expecting that.”

“You look so normal and nice and sweet,” Cowell said. “And then you turn into somebody else when you perform. I love that.”

Judge Sofia Vergara commented how much fun she had during his performance.

“You didn’t think you could be a teacher,” Vergara said. “Did you ever think you could be a rock star?”

Wines admitted he had mixed emotions on stage but was moved to tears by the reception.

“It’s the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done,” Wines said. “But also, the most exhilarating. My legs are going.”

At the end, he got a "Yes" from each of the four Judges, meaning he's moving on in the competition.

Watch new episodes of America’s Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.

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