Dee Dee Simon and Nathanael Barlow Crowned 2023 Amateur Night Grand Finale Winners

WHAT: The winner of America’s longest running talent show Amateur Night at The Apollo,  
Dee Dee Simon
was crowned at the show’s grand finale on November 22nd after she performed “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. From a global pool of vocalists, rappers, dancers, instrumentalists, comedians, spoken-word artists, and other performers Dee Dee Simon was awarded the highly coveted Amateur Night Grand Prize—which has jump-started the careers of artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, H.E.R., Machine Gun Kelly and the Jackson 5—as well as $20,000. Nathanael Barlow won the Apollo audience over with “For All We Know” performance, earning the title of “Child Star of Tomorrow” and a $5,000 prize.  

“The first time I hit the Apollo stage, I walked through the hallways, saw all the greats and I was like I’m really going to be on this stage. This is history and I felt like I was supposed to be here. This is the most amazing feeling in the world,” said Oakland-based Amateur Night Winner Dee Dee Simon.

“I’m feeling wonderful, I’m feel grateful, and I’m feeling very thankful for this opportunity. To touch The Apollo stage felt like a rite of passage. I’m really watching my dreams unfold; I’m watching my dreams unfold,” said 16-year-old Child Star of Tomorrow winner Nathanael Barlow.

A special holiday presentation of Amateur Night takes place on Saturday, December 9 at 7:30PM EST, and will gather an exciting roster of past winners for a special, non-competitive evening of holiday classics and other musical hits.

The Apollo’s original, large-scale talent competition is hosted by comedian Capone (NY Kings of Comedy, Def Comedy Jam) and features perennial favorites including C.P. Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (in charge of ushering off eliminated contestants); Greginald Spencer, the “Set It Off Man”; and Amateur Night’s longstanding famous house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell (MJ The Musical), featuring DaiQuan Davis on drums, Reggie Young on bass, and Matt Oestreicher on guitar and keyboard.  

Since its inception in 1934, the Apollo’s signature Amateur Night has attracted audiences from all corners of the globe and given a platform to what are now some of the biggest names in entertainment, including D’Angelo, Luther Vandross, Lauryn Hill, and H.E.R. Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feel the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience responses can help make or break a career. As always, audience members decide the winner of this year’s championship title, participating in the competition’s nearly 90-year tradition of “cheering” and “booing” each contestant to determine who advances.


Amateur Night at the Apollo is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola.

Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


The legendary Apollo Theater—The Soul of American Culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, The Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, The Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera, We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend The Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the [at] The Intersection Arts and Ideas Festival, Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, The Apollo has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at The Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about The Apollo, visit


For more information, please contact:

Sydney Edwards
The Apollo
Public Relations Manager

Destanie Martin-Johnson / Elizabeth Cregan
Resnicow and Associates /
2212-671-5172 / 212-671-5183

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About The Apollo

The Apollo is an American cultural treasure. It is a vibrant non-profit organization rooted in the Harlem community that engages people from around New York, the nation, and the world. Since 1934, The Apollo has celebrated, created, and presented work that centers Black artists and voices from across the African Diaspora. It has also been a catalyst for social and civic advocacy. Today, The Apollo is the largest performing arts institution committed to Black culture and creativity.

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The Apollo is a commissioner and presenter; catalyst for new artists, audiences, and creative workforce; and partner in the projection of the African American narrative and its role in the development of American and global culture.

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Artist on stage at Apollo Theater

The Apollo envisions a new American canon centered on contributions to the performing arts by artists of the African diaspora, in America and beyond.

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