So, who was the golden buzzer winner on the 2021 “America’s Got Talent” premiere?
Season 16 kicked off on June 1, 2021, with Simon Cowell back in his judging chair, alongside Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel. The premiere was filled with singers, a magician, dancers, acrobatics, animals, and comedians, but who won the golden buzzer? And, which judge picked them?
Read on below for the SPOILERS on the first golden buzzer winner of the season.
The Northwell Health Nurse Choir got the golden buzzer with their inspirational rendition of “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. Following their performance, Mandel stood up from his chair and told the choir members that he stands by them before hitting the buzzer. Each judge gets one golden buzzer to use on any act of their choosing per season.
What does it mean when an act receives the golden buzzer?
The acts that receive a golden buzzer from the judges during auditions will automatically earn a spot in the live shows, which air sometime in early August, Golden Derby reported.
So who is the Northwell Health Nurse Choir?
The 18-person choir, which was founded in 2020, is made up of nurses from across the Northwell Health Network with headquarters in New York, according to the choir’s official webpage. The singing group grew out of a nonprofit called Nurse Heroes, created by celebrities and philanthropists to raise awareness about the worldwide nurse shortage.
In the premiere episode of “America’s Got Talent,” the nurses shared the reasons as to why they joined the choir and how COVID affected their lives, and the lives of their patients, before performing on stage. They explained that when New York and the rest of the country were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to keep their spirits up day in and day out while caring for sick patients.
“Nobody knew how many people COVID would kill,” said nurse and choir member Christian Montanez.
During that hard time, the nurses turned to music.
Fellow choir member Winnie Mele said that music is the “one thing” that is “bringing us a little bit of light and a little bit of hope.”
The choir took the “America’s Got Talent” stage with simple choreography, powerful voices, and matching scrubs.
Before Mandel hit the golden buzzer, the rest of the celebrity judges commented on the choir’s performance, all giving rave reviews.
“We need you. The world needs you,” Cowell said, adding, “People are going to remember this audition. I’m going to remember this audition.”
Vergara called the performance “heartfelt” and “dynamic.” Klum even said she got “chills” while watching their performance.
Before Mandel stood up to hit the golden buzzer, he called the choir’s performance “heroic” and said he thought the song choice was perfect.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
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