A nine-year-old girl from Atlanta earned guest judge Chris Hardwick’s golden buzzer during the first week of judge cuts on America’s Got Talent. For Tuesday night’s performance, Angelica Hale chose “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.
After she finished, Angelica was met with a standing ovation and chants of “Golden buzzer! Golden buzzer!” by the audience. “The first time, do you remember what I said to you?” asked Howie Mandel. “You said I had a good chance of winning “America’s Got Talent,” replied Angelica. “I’ll never forget that.”
Well, you know something, Angelica? I’ll never forget you, and you know something?” Mandel said. “I still, tonight, have not changed my mind. “I mean, I’m so– I’m so blown away, ’cause you walk out and there’s this,like– you know, you’ve got these, like, sneakers on, and you look like this adorable little child,” said guest judge Chris Hardwick. “And then you open your mouth, and it’s like, how did those pipes fit n that tiny body? You are unbelievable!”
“Angelica, you are the chosen one!” said Hardwick as he pressed the golden buzzer. He then jumped on stage and gave Angelica a hug and a high five. During the judge cuts rounds, judges Heidi Klum, Mel B., Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell are joined by a different guest judge each week. Twenty acts selected from the audition rounds perform each week, with the top seven moving to the quarter final round. Each guest judge is allowed to press the golden buzzer for one act, passing that act to the quarter final round without any further deliberation.
Five years ago, Angelica was diagnosed with double pneumonia, and her kidneys stopped working. “Things were getting really bad really fast,” Angelica’s dad said. “They brought in a chaplain to talk to us.”
Her life was saved by a kidney transplant from her mother. “Mommy gave me her kidney,” Angelica said. “She’s my hero.” Angelica amazed the judges in the audition round of America’s Got Talent with her rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” She was passed to the judge cuts round with a unanimous vote of the judges.
“This shouldn’t actually happen. You’re tiny. Your voice is huge,” said Simon Cowell during the audition round. “I have a feeling we may be looking at a star in the future.”