Tanner Stransky
August 28, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1. SIMON COWELL LOVES HIM
The persnickety judge raved about Johnson’s Aug. 22 rendition of the Beatles’ ”With a Little Help From My Friends,” calling it ”the best first audition I have ever heard!”

2. HE’S A HUGE HIT ONLINE
The YouTube clip of his audition notched 1.3 million views in just three days.

3. THE GUY BOUNCES BACK
The trained dancer, 27, tried out for The X Factor three seasons ago — but didn’t make it past the first stage.

4. MUSICAL-THEATER SCHOOL WASN’T FOR HIM
”It was…like a bubble,” he says. ”I’m more of a free spirit.”

5. SO NOW HE’S A TEACHER
Specifically, at an all-boys school, and he’d love for his drama and dance students to ”see me succeed.”

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