“America’s Got Talent” is all about discovering stars — and sometimes those stars might be sitting right behind you.
It’s a lesson judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofía Vergara learned on Tuesday’s episode of the NBC reality competition, which saw an 11-year-old girl clinch the coveted Golden Buzzer after catching the judges’ attention while singing in the studio audience on a commercial break.
Before her seemingly impromptu performance, Madison Taylor Baez opened up about being a fan of “AGT” since she was 4.
“I am the biggest fan there could be of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and here I am,” she said.
But instead of walking onto the stage and auditioning the old-fashioned way, Baez hid in the studio audience, blending in among the fans.
To pass the time during breaks, members of the “AGT” studio audience get the chance to sing into a mic. When the mic came to Baez, her powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace” instantly made the judges crane their necks in her direction and earned a standing ovation from the crowd.
The notoriously hard-to-impress Cowell marveled at Baez and invited her to sing on the stage.
“I’ve been to many (‘AGT’) tapings,” Baez told the judges. “Ever since I was 4-years-old, I would always try and sing for the commercial breaks. It’s always been my dream to be on this show, and I’m finally here.”
After more of Baez’s impressive vocals, Cowell said the contestant was a one-of-a-kind talent.
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“I normally leave during the break because people do sing, so this is actually the opposite,” he joked. “It brought me back into the room.”
When asked how she would spend the $1 million prize, Baez said she’d donate it to cancer research. She added that her father has been living with stage 4 lung cancer for the past nine years. Her dad later joined her on stage, saying his daughter learned to sing to comfort him through his chemotherapy treatments.
Her talent and pure heart inspired Mandel to hit the Golden Buzzer, sending a tearful Baez directly through to the live shows.
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Baez wasn’t the only singer who impressed the judges.
Drake Milligan, a 23-year-old country singer from Fort Worth, Texas, earned yeses from all four judges, as well as a comparison from Mandel to a musical icon.
“I think that song’s a hit, and I think you’re a hit,” Mandel said after Milligan and his band performed his original song “Sounds Like Something I’d Do.” “You’re like the new Elvis of country.”
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Another memorable singing performance came from Metaphysic.ai founders Chris Ume and Tom Graham, a duo who uses “artificial intelligence to create hyper-real content.”
Instead of singing themselves, they invited past “AGT” contesting Daniel Emmet to sing Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” while a camera filmed him.
The camera projected onto a large screen Emmet’s body, but with Cowell’s face plastered onto him in shockingly realistic, uncanny effect.
“Is it inappropriate to fall in love with a contestant?” Cowell joked. “A great singer who looks incredible.”
They earned unanimous yeses from the judges.
Man pulls Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara with hook through his nose
Of course, it wouldn’t be an “AGT” episode without at least one truly bizarre act.
On Tuesday that act came from Zeno Sputafuoco, who appeared to twist a spiral nail through his nose and out through his mouth.
Yeah, you read that right.
Oh, but that’s not all. The silent contestant also invited Vergara and Klum onto the stage and had the judges sit on a wheeled platform. He then took a large hook, put it up his nose and dragged the judges from a rope connected between his nose hook and the platform.
The grotesque act earned four yeses, sending Sputafuoco to the next round where he will likely perform even more gag-inducing stunts. Yay?
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