No stranger to the television camera, Anthony Gargiula performed on The Ellen DeGeneres show 12 years ago. Here, he’s performing on stage on Fox’s “The Four.” Michael Becker / FOX
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ORLANDO, Fla. — “A fun whirlwind:” that’s the term Glenmont native Anthony Gargiula uses to describe the last few weeks of his life. Between mid-June and mid-July, he was flown out to Los Angeles and back three times to audition for, prepare for, and finally, perform on an episode of Fox’s newest music competition series, “The Four: Battle For Stardom,” hosted by Grammy Award-winning and multiplantium solo artist Fergie.
Prior to his nationally-televised appearance on “The Four,” which aired the night of Thursday, July 19, it had been nearly a decade since Gargiula last sang on television. Now 19, he initially gained fame by performing on The Ellen DeGeneres show 12 years ago. Since then, he’s opened for several international touring acts, including the Jonas Brothers and Lady Antebellum, and performed the National Anthem for several national sports teams. After graduating from Bethlehem Central High School in 2017, Gargiula relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he currently works as a performer at Universal Studios.
Gargiula’s fast-paced adventure began on June 10, when show producers first reached out to him to see whether he would be interested in auditioning. Soon, he was off to LA to perform for the show’s producers and judges. “[They] really liked my audition piece,” recalled Gargiula. “The producers were into it, the judges were into it… they really liked me and told me that they would love to have me be a part of the show.” Yet, he readily admits that he didn’t expect to be selected to perform. Just a few days later, after receiving the phone call he never imagined he’d get, he flew back out to LA to work with vocal coaches and the house band to prepare two songs for his upcoming appearance.
After a long wait on taping day, Gargiula finally took the stage, and performed his rendition of Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood.” Reminiscing on his performance, he describes how the studio audience made him feel so loved and so supported. He said it’s the first time that he’s had a crowd react that way; audience members were actually chanting his name at the end of the song. In addition, Mendes not only started following Gargiula on Twitter, but also tweeted that he liked his performance. After some deliberation, the show’s judges, Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, and Meghan Trainor, decided to have him challenge finalist Ali Caldwell. Following her performance, Gargiula poured his heart and soul into his rendition of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One.” While he believed that he was the audience favorite to win the challenge, technical difficulties in the studio prevented the audience from voting for their favorite contender. Instead, the judges voted, and Caldwell retained her seat.
According to the show’s website, “ ‘The Four’ begins where most competitions end: with the four finalists,” handpicked by its three judges. During each episode, all four finalists are challenged by new singers who are determined to both outperform and replace him or her, with the hopes of winning the grand prize: not only being mentored by the judges, but also participating in iHeartMedia’s “On The Verge” Artist Development Program, which will provide the rising star with airplay on its nationwide network of radio stations.
While Gargiula may not have unseated Caldwell with his two songs, he is extremely proud of his performances and considers his appearance on the show as a win, as it provided him a chance to show the world how much he’s grown professionally since his last television appearance. “I’m really thankful for the whole opportunity,” said Gargiula.
While it may be hard to believe, Gargiula admitted that the show was the first time he’d ever performed backed by a live band, an experience which he described as “incredible. I’d love to do that in the future,” he said, adding that, “I can see myself doing this somewhere down the road.”
Since his appearance on the show, Gargiula has found that at least several people recognize him after each of his performances at Universal, and says that he’s doing mini-meet and greets after his shows. He also realized that the experience has introduced him to a much larger audience. “The more people who hear, the better. [Plus,] I got the chance to get some really cool exposure. … It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”