Meet Sheldon Riley – Getting to Know the AGT Contestant Who Refused to Introduce Himself

Jaimie-lee Prince
Jul 18, 2020
10:00 A.M.
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Sheldon Riley is the mysterious singer who grabbed one of the final spots on "America's Got Talent" just ahead of the show going virtual. Although his wardrobe hid a lot, we've come to learn some things about the singer. 


Sheldon Riley is one of the more experienced competitors in the running for "American's Got Talent" season 15. At 20, he already has a few television appearances under his belt and thousands of fans. 


Riley's name is just for the stage. His real name is Sheldon Hernandez, and he is half Filipino, half Australian. Although he had "lots of fun" during his childhood, he encountered bullying as a result of his sexuality. 

Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Simon Cowell during the "America's Got Talent" Season 15. | Photo: Getty Images


Riley identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. When he was younger, he faced challenges with his sense of masculinity. These days, he's become more outspoken against discrimination. 


Riley is not new to reality competitions. Last year, he participated on "The Voice Australia," reaching the show's finale and stealing the hearts of many worldwide. 


Riley also competed on "The X Factor" during season 8 in a group entry. He and other members of Time and Place had a good run but were eliminated in the first live episode. 


Last June, there were rumors that Riley was dating a fellow contestant of "The Voice Australia" named Jack Vidgen. Riley cleared that up by confirming that he was in a relationship, but with someone else. 


Riley's partner is a man named Zachery Tomlinson. The pair are still together, and Riley regularly uploads photos of them together to his Instagram account. 


Riley's audition for "America's Got Talent" was unique in that the singer covered his face with beaded adornment and wore a dramatic black outfit complete with black nail polish and eye makeup. 


Additionally, Riley ignored judge Simon Cowell when asked his name. Instead, he turned away, then turned back and went straight into singing his rendition of Billie Eilish's "Idontwannabeyouanymore." 

When he was done, Riley opened up a bit with the judges, explaining that he wanted them to listen to him before focusing on who he was. He added that people only started noticing him through his talent. 

Cowell noted that he "likes mysteriously people" in reference to Riley's costume. However, co-judge Sofia Vergara wished she could see Riley's face. All three judges gave Riley a yes and sent him through to the next round.