Panelist Howie Mandel gave his Golden Buzzer out during the first episode of the season, choosing to award his once-a-season Buzzer to The Northwell Health Nurse Choir after they performed “Stand By Me” by Ben E King.
The Golden Buzzer is a coveted award because each of the judges only has one to give out for the entire audition process.
Going into the second episode of season 16, judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara each had a Golden Buzzer remaining.
WARNING: Spoilers for episode two of auditions for “America’s Got Talent” follow.
Nightbirde Received the Golden Buzzer From Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell is notoriously hard to please, so when acts get the Golden Buzzer from him, it sometimes feels like it’s extra special.
When Nightbirde, a musical artist battling cancer, took the stage, she immediately stole the judge’s hearts. When she performed her original song “It’s Okay” though, it was clear that she was extremely talented.
She told the judges that “It’s Okay” was the story of the last year of her life and detailed that she hasn’t been working for years because she’s been “dealing with cancer.”
“Last time I checked, I had some cancer in my lungs, in my spine, and in my liver,” she told the judges.
Mandel told her that no one would know that by looking at her.
“It’s important that everyone know I’m so much more than the bad things that have happened to me,” she added.
Her song echoed that sentiment, and the judges gave her a standing ovation following the last note.
“Your voice is stunning, absolutely stunning,” Cowell told her through obvious emotion. “And I hope you heard what Howie said about authenticity. There was something about that song and the way that you almost casually told us what you were going through.”
He then told her he wouldn’t give her a “yes,” but he would press the Golden Buzzer for her.
The artist details her experience with cancer, divorce, and a traumatic brain injury on her website.
“I have had cancer three times now, and I have barely passed thirty,” she writes. “There are times when I wonder what I must have done to deserve such a story. I fear sometimes that when I die and meet with God that He will say I disappointed him, or offended him, or failed Him.”
What Does it Mean to Receive a Golden Buzzer?
Any acts that receive a Golden Buzzer from one of the judges automatically move on to the live shows, which will air later on in the season.
According to Channel 3 News in Las Vegas, “America’s Got Talent” will be heading to the Las Vegas strip as part of a residency.
“I am beyond thrilled that this is now going to happen,” Simon Cowell said in a press release, according to the outlet. “And extremely proud to be working with MGM and to have the Luxor Hotel as our home.”
There will be multiple acts from “America’s Got Talent” performing on the strip each Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Luxor Theater. They will not be performing on Mondays or Tuesdays, however.
Tickets for the live show come in at $49 plus taxes and fees. They can be purchased online here.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on NBC.