Those who would have us believe that cheaters never prosper have obviously never heard of Harlemm Lee. To make it to the finals in NBC's summer talent contest, the eager Fame seeker shaved nearly a decade off his age. What's more, if the pocket-sized powerhouse had it all to do over, he just might do the same thing!
"At [the initial] audition, Debbie Allen gave us, like, 10 seconds to sing, and before that, it was, 'Okay, I need your name and age,'" the 35-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "So, with hundreds of people there, the majority of whom were, like, 16, I really felt that if I said I was over 30, ears were going to just shut off. So I took the risk, thinking that was what I needed to do to [make the cut]."
There's no arguing with success, we suppose. Besides, despite stiff competition from heartthrob-in-the-making Alex Boyd and wholesome Britney look-alike Shannon Bex, the baby-faced geezer had the chops to walk away with the grand prize no, not that recording contract from Johnny Wright... public acceptance! Now he hopes to return the favor for his fellow frisky fogies.
"Ageism is a big issue in Hollywood, but since I actually won the competition against 18-year-olds, I think it's inspiring. I've had so many people come up to me and just put their fists in their air and go, 'Yeah! Old people!'" he laughs, adding that he's in no hurry to act or look or sound! his age. "To be able to do what I love to do has kept me young throughout this whole experience. It's like the best fountain of youth that you could ever ask for."