ATLANTA -- The Atlanta singer known as Puddles Pity Party makes another appearance Tuesday on America’s Got Talent, which airs on NBC.
The character has become a bit of a sensation in the weeks since his first appearance on the season premiere. Before he became a TV sensation, though, Puddles was an Atlanta guy who only dabbled in clown attire.
When he appeared on "America's Got Talent" in May, he was an awkward presence, mute to the questions presented by judges, wearing oversized clown attire and matching makeup. Then his voice let loose, and the audience was floored by what it heard.
"When I saw that first performance he did, I cried," said Grant Henry, a longtime friend of the sad clown – whose onstage persona and costume frames the voice that Henry has heard for decades. "I think he’s now a national treasure."
PREVIOUS | Who is Puddles?
Before that, Puddles was an Atlanta fixture – performing under the name of Kingsized, led by a shaven-headed six-and-a-half-foot tall singer named Mike Geier. Kingsized leads a wildly popular, charity-driven Elvis tribute every year at Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse.
Geier has been unable to conduct interviews, constrained by demands from NBC to maintain the mystery of his character and limiting information about his success on the show prior to airtime.
The clown persona was never far from the surface. More than a decade ago, Geier led an Atlanta novelty band called Greasepaint -- whose members wore clown makeup and played rootsy/gothic rock.
Greasepaint had a sadness all its own, but was no pity party. However, it was a clear forerunner of a singing clown and where Geier's voice met the look that now dares the audience to pity the singer.
But now that he's grabbed the attention, those in Atlanta who knew him first say he's here to stay: "I'm not over-exaggerating -- I think he's a national treasure," Henry said.
Watch Puddle's performance that got him through to the live shows: