Singer/songwriter Joseph Allen earned the Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel on America’s Got Talent on Tuesday after performing an original song.
Friends and family gave him as standing ovation even before he sang a note, moved by his positive attitude and heart.
By the time it was all over, the whole audience was on its feet.
Golden buzzer: Joseph Allen earned the Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel on America’s Got Talent Tuesday night after performing an original song on the NBC show
‘I just wanna see how much of a footprint I can leave on the earth before I leave,’ the 21-year-old student from Killeen, Texas, said onstage as he introduced himself to the judges.
Howie was charmed by his ‘exuberance’ and ‘electric smile.’
‘Life is a series of moments,’ the 63-year-old comedian told Joseph. ‘People at home are talking about this moment. People in this room are talking about this moment. People—’ he continued, suddenly beginning to crawl onto the table in front of him—’just want this moment to happen.’
‘Now you said you wanna leave a footprint,’ Howie pointed out, standing up on the table top. ‘Well, I’m gonna give you the footprint you need to leave.’
Stepping up: Howie climbed onto the table and stomped on the Golden Buzzer
He then stomped on the Golden Buzzer sending Joseph straight to the live show.
In the crowd, Joseph’s loved ones went bananas. As one of 12 children raised in a ‘blended’ family, the singer had repeatedly called his parents and siblings a source of support.
‘When I told my dad I was going to be on America’s Got Talent, he cried,’ Joseph explained. ‘He’s always known that I had this thing of just, like, saying a thing and then accomplishing it.’
Family support: The singer was supported by his blended family
Goal achiever: The singer said his father knew about him ‘saying a thing and then accomplishing it’
The contestant had even had a viral hit online with an original song he sang about his mother.
‘I taught myself how to produce, how to mix music, how to engineer. Now I’m here,’ he said. ‘When I’m done on this stage, I want to be able to look at [my family] and say, ”I made them proud”.’
As his friends in the crowd waved their hands, Joseph sang: ‘When it storms, when it rains, it falls on all of us the same. But after today, the world’s gonna know my name.’
Original song: The Texas singer performed an original song that won over the crowd
After his performance, he fell to the stage crying, overcome by the crowd’s response.
‘You’ve got amazing energy,’ said Simon. ‘That was an amazing audition. I love you.’
Host Terry Crews, 50, ran out and scooped Joseph up, carrying him around the stage as golden confetti fell. Joseph had asked him to do so earlier if he got the Golden Buzzer.
Confetti falling: Show host Terry Crews lifted up Joseph after being asked to earlier if he got the Golden Buzzer
It was a dramatic ending to a night full of moving and unusual acts.
Jonathan Burns, a comedian and contortionist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, scored four ‘yes’ votes after being carried onstage in a closed suitcase, from which he unzipped himself.
He then proceeded to dance to Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend, throwing glitter over himself, pushing his entire body through a toilet seat and tennis racket, unzipping his clothes over and over to reveal new outfits, and removing his underwear through his shorts.
First up: Jonathan Burns, a comedian and contortionist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, scored four ‘yes’ votes
Fun routine: The routine started with Jonathan emerging from a suitcase
‘We’re not worthy!’ cried Terry.
‘I don’t think any of us know just exactly what happened but I think we all want to see more,’ offered Gabrielle Union, 46.
‘That was like Napoleon Dynamite, but bendy. I want to know how you discover this talent,’ said Julianne Hough, 30.
Red headband: Julianne Hough wore a red headband tossed to her as Simon Cowell looked on
‘I was a weird kid,’ Jonathan replied, grinning.
Benecio Bryant, 14, performed a deeply moving rendition of Brandi Carlile’s The Joke.
He said he had been singing since he was two.
Weird kid: Jonathan admitted that he was a weird kid
‘I already got chills,’ said Julianne after the first line.
As Benecio sailed effortlessly over the song’s crescendo, the crowd spontaneously stood to give him a standing ovation.
‘You came out here, your complete authentic self, let your voice do the talking, and you connected with all of us,’ said Gabrielle. ‘Incredibly talented.’
Teen talent: Benecio Bryant, 14, performed a deeply moving rendition of Brandi Carlile’s The Joke
‘I think you’re a real find,’ added Simon, comparing him to Harry Styles.
The Emerald Belles Drill Team, made up of Southlake, Texas, high school students ages 14 to 18, performed a high-kicking routine to New Order’s Blue Monday.
‘Do you think you can win?’ Simon asked them, dubious.
High praise: Simon compared the teenage singer to Harry Styles
‘I think we for sure got what it takes,’ said captain Molly McKinnon.
Dozens of the team’s dancers then swarmed the judges’ table and the stage, performing a perfectly executed routine that used the design on their outfits to striking visual effect.
It ended in a staggering synchronized group split.
High-kick routine: The Emerald Belles Drill Team, made up of Southlake, Texas, high school students ages 14 to 18, performed a high-kicking routine to New Order’s Blue Monday
Howie was unimpressed, comparing the dancers unfavorably to the Rockettes.
‘It didn’t feel like it was even close to the level of what I have watched there,’ he said.
‘I know what you’re saying, Howie… but someone new needs to take [the Rockettes’] place,’ Simon pointed out, giving the group the third yes that sent them through.
Not impressed: Howie was not impressed by the high school students and said they weren’t close to The Rockettes
The women in the crowd chanted for the next act, The Messaoudi Brothers, a trio of handsome hand-to-hand acrobats who learned their profession from their dad, ‘one of the best acrobats in the world.’
Wild cheers greeted them and heightened into a fever pitch as they balanced precariously on one another’s necks, legs and feet as Warriors by the Imagine Dragons played in the background.
‘I am so excited that you came on this show,’ Simon revealed, as they were voted through.
Hand acrobats: The women in the crowd chanted for the next act, The Messaoudi Brothers, a trio of handsome hand-to-hand acrobats
Yassin, one of the three brothers, said: ‘It is also like a dream for us come true, because we love Terry,’ pointing to the show’s host. Terry flexed his pecs, then held one of the men aloft.
Switching it up, the Bir Khalsa Group, from India, promised ‘a very dangerous show with coconuts’—and it was weird enough, and scary enough, to get them sent through.
Jagdeep, a 7’6′ policeman with a size 20 shoe, lay on the ground surrounded by coconuts and watermelon, while Kawaljit, his partner, tried to smash them, blindfolded inside a mask.
Strong guys: They balanced precariously on one another’s necks, legs and feet as Warriors by the Imagine Dragons played in the background
Danger act: Bir Khalsa Group, from India, promised ‘a very dangerous show with coconuts’—and it was weird enough, and scary enough, to get them sent through
The horrifying act was made all the more nail-biting by the fact that Kawaljit often missed what he was aiming at and struck the ground, hard, as Jagdeep shut his eyes tight.
Judges looked traumatized.
‘I thought there was going to be death,’ said Gabrielle. ‘This was like the scariest horror movie I have ever seen.’
Fruit smashing: Jagdeep, a 7’6′ policeman, lay on the ground surrounded by coconuts and watermelon, while Kawaljit, his partner, tried to smash them, blindfolded inside a mask
Close call: The hammer came dangerously close to making contact with Jagdeep
Too much: Julianne reacted as the danger act was underway
Like a perfect palate cleanser, the violent act was followed by an adorable Toronto tween group named G-Force, which featured five ‘super best-friends’ straight out of Disney central casting.
Sporting colorful outfits, the girls boasted nicknames like Zen G, Boss G, Speedy G, and OG.
‘G stands for Girl, and Force is what happens when we come together,’ explained Holly Gorski, called ‘Hype G, because her energy is always like, up in space,’ said the other girls.
Girl power: G-Force charmed the judges with their girl power anthem
‘Here comes trouble,’ Simon murmured when he saw them.
The crowd ate up the quintet’s smoothly performed original song, which they had described as being about ‘going to the top together and not letting anyone push you down.’
The girls collapsed in tears when they saw the audience’s enthusiastic reaction, as they had only ever performed for their parents ‘and like, 10 other girls’ before.
Nailed it: The girls nailed their performance of their original song
‘I think the message that you’re giving to young girls, young boys out there is that you’re never too young to dream big,’ noted Julianne.
Gabrielle said she expected to hear their song ‘in the carpool lane, on repeat.’
Howie asked little Holly why she had become so emotional.
‘It’s like, so speechless when you have a whole crowd cheering for you,’ the 10-year-old said.
Supportive crowd: Holly, 10, said she got emotional because the whole crowd was cheering
Adeline Bates, 63, knew that feeling well.
The four-octave singer from Arizona had sung with a group in her youth, but put her career on the back-burner to raise her kids. She had rarely ever performed alone.
‘Now I’m on the front burner,’ she said. ‘It’s about me.’
Talented singer: Adeline Bates, 63, sung with a group in her youth and was performing solo
As she got ready to perform, Adeline told the judges she had to go change. When she returned, she was half-dressed as a man, and half as a woman.
She then sang a ‘duet’ of the Nat King Cole song Unforgettable.
‘It’s my time,’ she said, explaining what brought her to the show.
Fun duet: The singer changed into a half dress, half suit outfit for her performance of Unforgettable
Killed it: Adeline performed both the male and female parts of the duet changing her profile each time
‘I love that this is what your ”me time” looks like,’ said Gabrielle.
She wasn’t the only one to get in touch with a hidden side of themselves during the show.
Magician Nicholas Wallace showcased his talent for communicating with things that had a story to tell.
Scary audition: Nicholas Wallace showcased his talent for communicating with things that had a story to tell
Accompanied onstage by a ‘creepy’ chair, he claimed that it had once stood in a hotel room where it brought misfortune to the guests who slept near it.
He’d salvaged it when the hotel burned down, he said—along with a doll from another part of the hotel, to which he said it was connected.
He recruited judge Gabrielle to come up, sit in the chair, and be blindfolded.
Haunted chair: The magician brought out a haunted chair with a connection to a creepy doll
As he raised and lowered the doll’s arm, an unseeing Gabrielle did the same.
As he touched the doll’s arm, Gabrielle moved to indicate she felt her arm being touched.
‘Whoa,’ said Julianne, as Gabrielle returned to her seat.
On stage: Gabrielle Union was recruited onto the stage and eerily moved her arm in sync with the doll
Freaked out: Julianne freaked out as Gabrielle showed some sort of link to the doll
‘What was touching me?’ Gabrielle asked.
Nicholas was voted through.
As the show drew to a close, an old contestant stopped by with a new act.
Mykyta, a member of Light Balance—the 12th season’s glow-in-the-dark dance competitors, who came in third runner-up—returned with its junior version, Light Balance Kids.
Light show: Light Balance Kids performed with kids from the Ukraine
The children’s presence on the show belied their difficult lives back home in the Ukraine.
‘There is a lot of war and a lot of conflict,’ admitted Mykyta, noting that many kids in the Ukraine had been separated from their families. ‘But even in the darkest moments, you can find the light.’
Ryan Niemiller, 36, lightened everyone’s spirits by performing a comedic set that also touched on a difficult subject: a birth defect that left him with severely shortened, twisted arms.
Finding light: The Ukrainian children were finding light even in the darkest moments
Niemiller said he’d initially turned to comedy as a defense mechanism.
‘I learned very early that if I made the jokes, if I got to it first, I was gonna make you laugh,’ said the Indianapolis resident, who noted that he still sometimes earned so little, he slept in his car.
He joked about wanting to be a wrestler named Cripple Threat, and poked gentle fun at those who misunderstood him.
Funny guy: Ryan Niemiller, 36, lightened everyone’s spirits by performing a comedic set that also touched on his birth defect that left him with severely shortened, twisted arms
Good one: The comedian joked about wanting to be a wrestler named Cripple Threat
‘People ask me dumb questions all the time—I’ll get this one a lot—”Hey Ryan, is that genetic?” Yes. Because you see my mom was Irish, and my dad was a lobster.’
The judges loved it.
‘I wanna know your next tour dates,’ Gabrielle said. ‘I want to be your roadie.’
‘You have 4,104 yeses,’ said Simon, including all the people in the theater in his vote.
America’s Got Talent will return next week on NBC.
Loved it: Simon enjoyed the stand-up routine and voted to send Ryan to the next round