Whitaker won "Amateur Night" when he was just nine.
Contestants come from all over, and have to audition to get in.
Twenty-three-year-old Sung Lee is a "beatboxer," making music with his mouth -- and this year has won the first two "Amateur Nights" in which he's performed. "I want to win the whole thing, of course. But I've got my ways to go. Two more rounds."
A psychology major, Lee gave up his job in Las Vegas, to beat-box full-time in the New York subways. Not an easy crowd! "But if you really grab their attention with something special and unique, they'll stop for you," Lee said. "And they'll pay you."
At the Apollo, at least, he didn't have to compete with the trains. "But it's actually kind of similar," he told Mason, "because the audience is the judge, both for the Apollo and the subway."
Apollo crowds are encouraged to express their opinion, which is measured by a meter over the stage. Sung Lee scored a 91. If he can win twice more he'll be the annual "Amateur" champion -- and, like Dr. Matthew Hashimoto, will walk away with a $10,000 check.
"Oh, it was great," said Dr. Hasimoto. "Can pay off my student loans!"
Mason asked, "How thrilling was it to win at the Apollo?"
"I tried to make sure that I remembered every moment of it," he replied. "Just because it was one of those things that never in a million years do you ever think it's going to happen."
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