The Detroit Youth Choir got an unexpected Golden Buzzer from host Terry Crews on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent as auditions continued on the NBC show.
Dancing, rapping and singing their way through a high-energy version of the 2013 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit Can’t Hold Us, the kids had the crowd beaming and cheering.
But it was Terry, 50, whose decision and words meant the most, sending the group consisting of many inner-city kids through to the Hollywood live rounds.
Golden buzzer: Terry Crews surprised the Detroit Youth Choir on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent by hitting his Golden Buzzer sending them to the live rounds
As judge Howie Mandel, 63, was about to vote, Terry suddenly walked onstage.
‘I’m so sorry to interrupt you Howie,’ he said, choking up. ‘But I have to tell you—every young man and woman on this stage represents me, and where I came from.’
Onstage, the children’s faces were streaked with tears.
‘I remember sitting at my window in Flint, Michigan, dreaming and wanting to make it, and wanting to be here, and they’re here,’ Terry said.
The moment: The 50-year-old host slammed the Golden Buzzer after an emotional speech
Talented youths: The Detroit Youth Choir performed a high-energy version of the 2013 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit Can’t Hold Us
‘And they did so well, that I have to do this.’
He strode to the judges’ desk and started addressing the choir’s director, Anthony White.
‘Let me tell you, Mr. White, people like you are the reason I am where I am right now. All it takes is one person to believe in a young man or woman for them to reach their dreams, and you are that man, sir.’
Choir director: Choir director Anthony White was singled out for praise by Terry
He slammed the Golden Buzzer in front of judge Julianne Hough, 30, as the kids sobbed with joy, the crowd jumped up and down, and golden confetti fell from the ceiling.
It was a well-deserved reward for a performance judge Gabrielle Union, 46, called ‘nothing short of absolute brilliance,’
‘If you keep doing this, where every performance is the last thing you would expect a choir to do, you could win this,’ said judge Simon Cowell, 59.
Confetti falling: Detroit Youth Choir members celebrated as golden confetti dropped
The kids couldn’t believe it.
‘Some of them have bad home situations or they could be in the streets,’ said White, who has run the group for 21 years. ‘There’s violence. We give them something positive to come and be a part of.’
‘Mr. White knows things that Detroit children go through, so he’s able to help us feel safe and fix those things through music or dance,’ one of the singers explained.
Live rounds: Terry by hitting the Golden Buzzer sent the choir straight to the live rounds in Hollywood
All smiles: Terry and choir director Anthony smiled along with members of the choir after they got the host’s Golden Buzzer pick
Talent competition: Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough and Simon Cowell served as judges while Terry hosted the two-hour episode
‘Our mission is to show that young people from Detroit can be somebody,’ White said.
The two-hour season 14 episode started with an act that couldn’t have been more different from the choir.
Rat performer Melissa Arleth, who travels the country in an RV with three rodents, brought onstage her pal Hanta, a seven-month-old rat who performed tricks.
Rat act: Melissa Arleth started the show with her rat Hanta performing tricks
Hanta named after the hantavirus had ‘understudies’ pneumonia and varicella backstage, Melissa quipped.
The rat ran all over her ‘Cirque de Sewer’ set, even zooming over Melissa’s crotch as she flipped upside down and spread her legs to connect two corners.
The judges grimaced, but ultimately voted her through.
‘That was the weirdest, coolest thing I’ve ever seen,’ noted Julianne.
Weird routine: The judges grimaced through the routine but voted to send Melissa through
‘I think rats just have bad PR,’ said Simon. ‘I love both of you.’
Ansley Burns from Easley, South Carolina, charmed everyone from the moment she hit the stage, ready to belt Aretha Franklin’s 1968 classic Think.
‘When I was little, I used to sing and pretend I was on America’s Got Talent,’ the 12-year-old contestant said before she went out, noting that being on AGT was ‘my dream.’
Charming contestant: Ansley Burns from Easley, South Carolina, charmed everyone from the moment she hit the stage, ready to belt Aretha Franklin’s 1968 classic Think
Once Simon heard the subpar backing track she was working with, he stopped the performance, arguing that it wasn’t doing her any favors.
He gave her a cup of water and urged her to continue.
To the raucous clapping of the crowd, she went on to turn in a surprisingly powerful a cappella performance.
Try again: The 12-year-old singer had her audition stopped by Simon and performed an a cappella version that won over the audience and judges
The judges all praised her professionalism and character, sending her through.
‘You absolutely crushed it,’ Julianne told the little girl.
Magician Sos, 22, was an AGT legacy, as his parents quick-change artists Sos and Victoria made it all the way to the live shows on season 11.
Magic man: Sos competed as a legacy contestant following his quick-change artist parents Sos and Victoria who made it to the live shows on season 11
‘I know that my whole life can depend on this moment, and I really hope that I will make mom and dad proud,’ Sos said.
His seamless set found him producing cards from out of thin air and changing their color, design and size with lightning quickness, leaving the judges entranced.
‘I think is the best day of my life,’ the magician said after he got four ‘yes’ votes.
Changing cards: The magician performed an act where the cards changed colors, pattern and sizes
Marcin Patrzalek, an 18-year-old from Poland, won raves for his incredible guitar playing.
‘When I was a little kid, I was fascinated with sounds,’ said the musician, a once-lonely kid who used his toys to create music. ‘There was a soundtrack basically going on in my head all the time, composed of abstract sounds.’
Shy and withdrawn for much of his childhood, Marcin learned to make friends after he became a working musician.
Guitar hero: Marcin Patrzalek, an 18-year-old from Poland, won raves for his incredible guitar playing
‘I used to perform in front of a wall,’ he reflected. ‘Now here I am on AGT, performing in front of millions and millions of people.’
Strumming his guitar with speed and passion, he journeyed from classical music to rock in what Gabrielle called ‘an absolutely out-of-this-world performance.’
It earned him a standing ovation and high praise from Simon, who called it ‘amazing.’
High praise: The musician journeyed from classical music to rock in what Gabrielle called ‘an absolutely out-of-this-world performance’
‘I know how difficult that is, because I tried to learn the guitar at your age,’ the judge added. ‘I hated it so much I threw a toffee at the guitar teacher, and he punched me in the face.’
‘Ninety-nine percent of the people who come on stage with a guitar can’t play the guitar. You’ve just demonstrated what that thing was actually invented for. So, respect,’ Simon added.
‘You didn’t play the guitar, you murdered the guitar,’ Howie joked.
Fan favorite: Howie received a warm welcome from the audience
Andy Rowell, a 24-year-old theater box-office attendant, took a risk by performing with a karaoke machine, knowing that Simon had said he hated karaoke.
‘Karaoke makes me physically sick,’ the judge revealed in a flashback.
Rowell’s hilariously straight-faced presentation involved standing nervously in front of a loading computer screen as he awaited his chance to sing the sole word of the Ventures’ 1963 hit Tequila.
Karaoke act: Andy Rowell performed a karaoke routine to the Ventures’ 1963 hit Tequila
‘It was so stupid, I loved it,’ said Simon, who pounded the desk in front of him laughing.
Rowell scored a standing ovation and went through.
Robotic dancers ADEM Show then wowed the crowd by moving in perfect sync for one member who acted as puppet master while contorting and holding their bodies.
One word: The karaoke act was so stupid that the judges loved it
Unique routine: Robotic dancers ADEM Show then wowed the crowd by moving in perfect sync for one member who acted as puppet master while contorting and holding their bodies
‘What you guys have created onstage is freaking amazing,’ said Julianne, comparing it to ‘Street Fighter meets Mortal Kombat.’ ‘The movements are so articulate, impactful and tight.’
‘You came to slay, and we are deceased,’ Gabrielle told the Kyrgyzstan-based troupe.
Voices Of Service, a quartet made up of retired and active military members, said they formed to sing for their fellow members of the armed services suffering from post-traumatic stress.
Strong quartet: Voices Of Service made up of retired and active military members impressed
They shared their stories of the horrors of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
‘Every day that you spent there, you had to make it your best, because one day you could be having lunch with one of your battle buddies, and the next day they could be gone,’ said retired Army staff sergeant Ron D. Henry.
Singing had helped them deal with loss they experienced, he said.
Moving on: The quartet easily advanced with four yes votes
The group’s moving version of Katy Perry’s 2016 hit Rise utilized their smooth harmonies to powerful effect, and had the crowd in tears and on their feet.
‘That’s how you do it,’ said Simon. ‘Your story is amazing, your message is amazing… you’ve got great voices, you’ve got great talent. This is what we need right now.’
‘You haven’t got four yeses, you’ve got 4,000 yeses,’ he added as the group teared up.
After Simon pooh-poohed a flautist’s performance, Terry took the stage to perform the flute himself, calling it ‘an amazing instrument.’
Nice try: RiRia failed to advance after playing the flute
Brandon Coprich, 31, then arrived on stage, playing what at first seemed like a dull tune on the flute.
Moments later, he began stripping to Ginuwine’s 1996 hit Pony, playing along with the song as he gyrated.
As he was kicked off, Terry joined him onstage—shirtless, dancing and playing the flute.
His turn: Terry showed off his skills as a flute player
He even compared the size of their flutes, though his was smaller.
Pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick ‘read’ Julianne’s dogs Harley and Lexi, who revealed that she danced for them and took them everywhere, but Sonya was rejected.
Dallas residents Jorge Dominguez, 37, and wife Alcira, 31, brought their son Logan and daughter Makayla onstage with a troupe of dogs.
Shirt offs: Brandon Coprich and Terry took off their shirts while playing the flute
Supernatural act: The Pet Psychic tried to read the minds of Julianne’s dogs
New judge: Julianne gave high fives to the crowd upon arrival
They hoped to win the $1 million prize to buy a home for their family.
The judges were delighted as the dogs jumped through hoops and over hurdles, did handstands, pushed a toy car and even leaped over the kids, all to the strains of Queen’s 1978 classic Don’t Stop Me Now.
‘We just want to be wowed, and you guys delivered,’ Gabrielle said.
Family act: Dominguez Poodle Revue was a family affair
Show newcomer: Gabrielle joined AGT this season as a judge
As the show wound to a close, Berywam, a four-man vocal group from France, used sound effects and beatboxing to create the sound of an uptempo club record.
Their tight rhythms won over the crowd, which was waving their arms in unison to the tune.
The judges gave them a standing ovation.
Last up: Berywam, a four-man vocal group from France, used sound effects and beatboxing to create the sound of an uptempo club record
‘Just your mouths, and sound and creativity,’ Howie marveled. ‘I see [a win] possibly in your future. This was very exciting.’
‘This is not just keeping up with the times, this is ahead of the times,’ Simon said as they also were voted to the next round.
America’s Got Talent will return next week on NBC with more auditions.
Standing ovation: The judges gave the French group a standing ovation