Connecticut Natives Reach 2nd Round of “America's Got Talent”

Three Milford musicians made their mark on "America's Got Talent" tonight and breezed through to the second round with the blessings of all four judges.

Later in the show, Windsor Locks comedian Darik Santos followed suit and won over three of the four judges with his unique, unusual humor.

Beach Avenue announced the news on its Web site Sunday that the taped episode of their audition in front of celebrity judges in Hollywood was slated to air at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.

Three of the five band members appeared on Tuesday's episode, including Nick Fradiani (vocals and guitar), of Guilford, Nick Abraham (lead guitar, mandolin and vocals), of Fairfield, and Ryan Zipp (drums), of Hamden.

They stunned the judges with their original song "Coming Your Way" and got the audience clapping along.

Judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and Howie Mandel unanimously pushed them through to the second round and raved about Beach Avenue's performance.

"It's a catchy song, you're a tight band, you're a great singer, the package is already there," said judge Mel B. "I loved it, absolutely loved it."

The feeling among the judges was mutual.

"You came out with an original song and that makes me like you even more," said Howard Stern. "You've set the bar high for other bands. I love what you did tonight. Great audition."

The trio stopped by the NBC Connecticut station Tuesday morning to perform their original song, "Songman" and to plug their appearance on "America's Got Talent."

"It's pretty awesome," Fradiani said of the band's experience performing on the show. "We're excited to watch it together tonight."

His father, Nick Fradiani, Sr., plays keyboard and sings with the band. Jonah Ferrigno, the fifth and final member, plays bass.

Two of Beach's Avenues newly released songs, "Feel the Beat" and their audition number "Coming Your Way," are available on iTunes.

The group is constantly writing and recording to hear what works and brainstorm new ideas. Fradiani said that they draw inspiration from their life experiences.

"The best ones come out of something that affected you," he said.

The group was launched in the summer of 2011 for a Battle of the Bands performance at Mohegan Sun, according to its Web site. They named their band after the Milford street on which they were living.

After winning the competition, the band was awarded with a headlining gig in the Wolf Den at the casino in 2012.

Beach Avenue recorded its first EP, "Something to Believe In," at Firehouse 12 Studio in New Haven and released another in 2013 called "Driving That Road."

According to the band's online bio, Beach Avenue has opened for well-known musicians such as Third Eye Blind, Jefferson Starship, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Adams, Bad Rabbits, Jeffrey Gaines, Bronze Radio Return and Alternate Routes, which features Farmington native Tim Warren.

When asked what advice the band would give local musicians working to establish themselves, Zipp said a digital presence is paramount. Fradiani advised up-and-coming artists to "set [themselves] apart" from other musicians.

"It's not just physical anymore, it's online," he said, noting the importance of social media like Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

The band members still have one dream, to play full-time for a living.

Beach Avenue is set to play in Bridgeport, Hamden, New Haven, Stamford, Watertown and Uncasville this summer. The band's full concert schedule is available on its Web site.

For updates and information, you can visit the band online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Santos also continued on to the second round of competition and told the judges he'd spend the million-dollar prize on an engagement ring for his girlfriend of three years.

Stern, Mel B and Mandel all voted him through.

"You are a bit polarizing," Stern explained after Santos' audition. "Some people just are not going to get you. ... You're the kind of guy that I will remember because you're different and I applaud different."

You can find Santos on Facebook and Twitter.

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