St. John’s Welcomes Home Former Student and America’s Got Talent Contestant

January 13, 2020

Former St. John’s University student Salvatore Valentinetti returned to the Queens, NY, campus on December 5 to be interviewed by current students from WRED-TV and WSJU Radio. He spoke to communication arts students on the WRED-TV program, The Noon Show, about his rise to fame after receiving Heidi Klum’s golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent in 2016 and how he stays true to himself.  

Mr. Valentinetti, who majored in Communication Arts, received a warm welcome from some of his former classmates as well as several administrators.

CCPS students Torii Campbell and Zachary Mahabir  were eager to interview Mr. Valentinetti about his life-changing experience on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent and his current adventures performing around the country. Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Mr. Valentinetti embraces his Italian-American heritage and family traditions. He said he always stays true to his beliefs and believes this was one of the reasons he was so successful on America’s Got Talent—he never strayed from his traditional style.

“He is the same great performer whether you see him on TV or at his live show,” said Zachary, who became friends with Mr. Valentinetti when he worked at the WSJU radio station. He recalls his friend was known to be outgoing and extremely kind, always going the extra mile to make someone smile.

"Sal's a charismatic, authentic, down-to-earth guy.  Whenever he entered the room, you knew he was going to say something funny.  He was always fun to be around.,” Richard Martinez ’01CPS, ’13G, WRED-TV Senior Broadcast Engineer/Faculty Moderator.

This was very evident when he walked into the CCPS Television Studio, where he was greeted by a large group of people, from old friends to new professors who stopped by to say hello. Mr. Valentinetti said he was very grateful for the lifelong friendships he formed while he was a student at St. John’s. 

He spoke about his time on America’s Got Talent, and specifically recalled the moment on live television when he received the golden buzzer during his audition. He said he was “shocked, surprised, and a little bit scared.” Throughout the season, he was determined to dedicate 100 percent of his efforts to prove to himself that he could succeed on the show—as he continued to keep track of and be motivated by the accomplishments of his fellow St. John’s classmates.   

For the past few months, he has been touring the country, performing many of his hits, including those from his Christmas album released last year. 

Watch the WRED-TV interview.