11 AGT “Golden Buzzer” Performances Fans Will Never Forget

(Left) Darci Lynne / Facebook / (Center) Trae Patton / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images / (Right) NBC

Revisit Some Of The All-Time Best “Golden Buzzer” Moments In AGT History

Few AGT contestants have ever been recognized as a “Golden Buzzer” performer. The Golden Buzzer was first introduced to the show during Season 9 and has remained a staple part of the competition ever since.

The show’s host and each of the four judges get to press the Golden Buzzer during the auditions. Traditionally, they could only do so once. But the rules changed for Season 19, allowing each judge to press the Golden Buzzer twice.

Regardless, judges still have to be selective with their Golden Buzzer picks. They reserve their presses for the best or most inspiring performers.

Gold confetti rains from the sky after the Golden Buzzer is pressed. The judge who pushes the Golden Buzzer often joins the contestant onstage for a celebratory hug.

Simon Cowell hugs AGT Golden Buzzer recipient Nightbirde
AGT judge Simon Cowell hugs Nightbirde, who he pressed his Golden Buzzer for during the show’s 16th season. Photo Credit: America’s Got Talent / YouTube


Those who receive the Golden Buzzer get to skip the first levels of the competition and advance directly to the live shows.

Obviously, every Golden Buzzer recipient has an extraordinary talent. But today, we wanted to revisit 11 of the all-time best Golden Buzzer moments in AGT history.

Devoted AGT fans will never forget these performances!

See Our List Of 11 Unforgettable AGT “Golden Buzzer” Performers Below

Richard Goodall

55-year-old Middle school janitor Richard Goodall auditioned for the 19th season of AGT. The man students call “Mr. Richard” won the judges’ hearts before he ever opened his mouth to sing. But once he did, he blew everyone away.

Goodall, who had never even flown on a plane before his audition, delivered an unbelievable cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” 

After the song ended, judge Heidi Klum said:

“Richard, Richard, Richard, you knocked me off my feet! We all had the best time with you up on that stage. I really feel something when I see you up there. This is what I’m going to do for you, because I love you.”

From there, Klum reached forward to press the Golden Buzzer, leaving Goodall in a state of disbelief.

“I don’t know how you wrap your head around that,” Goodall said in an interview reacting to his audition after it aired. As the newest Golden Buzzer recipient in this list, he joins many talented performers from the past, as you’ll see below.

Kodi Lee

Kodi Lee was 22 years old when he auditioned for the 14th Season of AGT. Lee, who is autistic and legally blind, delivered a moving performance of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” while playing the piano.

The judges were in awe of Lee’s talent, especially Gabrielle Union, who pressed the Golden Buzzer for him. Lee was eventually crowned the winner of Season 14.

He has since returned to AGT as a guest performer and participated in spin-off shows, with his most recent appearance being on America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League in 2024.

Lee has actually been honored with the Golden Buzzer twice! Howie Mandel pressed the Golden Buzzer for Lee after he performed an emotional tribute to his mom during the Fantasy League semi-finals.

Lee advanced to the Fantasy League finals before being eliminated just shy of the Top 5.

Angelica Hale

Angelica Hale was only nine years old when she auditioned for Season 12 of AGT. She received “yes” votes from all four judges after singing Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”

Hale continued to amaze during the Judge Cuts round. Her soaring cover of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” wowed guest judge Chris Hardwick, who pressed the Golden Buzzer.

At the end of the season, Hale came in second place behind fellow Golden Buzzer recipient Darci Lynne. Then 10 years old, Hale was the youngest runner-up in AGT history. It’s a record she still holds today.

Like Kodi Lee, Hale has been recognized with the Golden Buzzer twice.

Hale returned to AGT to compete on the spin-off America’s Got Talent: The Champions in 2019. Her powerful performance of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” struck a chord with Howie Mandel, and he honored her by pressing the Golden Buzzer.

Hale advanced into the Top 12 on The Champions before she was eliminated.

Grace VanderWaal

Grace VanderWaal was 12 years old when she auditioned for Season 11 of AGT. She performed her original song, “I Don’t Know My Name,” while playing ukulele.

The judges were stunned by VanderWaal’s talent and confidence. Simon Cowell declared that she could be “the next Taylor Swift.

Cowell wanted to press the Golden Buzzer for VanderWaal, but Howie Mandel beat him to it!

VanderWaal continued to prove her talent throughout the competition and was crowned the winner of the season.

Detroit Youth Choir


The Detroit Youth Choir auditioned for Season 14 of AGT. They delivered an outstanding performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” which featured singing, rapping, and dancing.

The choir’s performance elicited an emotional reaction from host Terry Crews. He stepped up to recognize the group with his Golden Buzzer, sending them directly to the quarterfinals.

Detroit Youth Choir came in second place behind fellow Golden Buzzer recipient Kodi Lee.

The group returned to compete on the spin-off series America’s Got Talent: All Stars in 2023. They performed Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” in the preliminary round. Once again, they received a Golden Buzzer from host Terry Crews.

Detroit Youth Choir finished in the Top 11 on All Stars.

Chapel Hart

Country trio Chapel Hart made quite the impression when they auditioned for Season 17 of AGT. The group performed an original country tune titled “You Can Have Him Jolene.” The song responds to Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit, “Jolene.”

In a rare move, all four judges PLUS host Terry Crews joined forces to press the Golden Buzzer for Chapel Hart. They were only the second act to ever receive the group Golden Buzzer on AGT.

Chapel Hart finished the season in fifth place.

The trio returned to compete on the AGT spin-off Fantasy League in 2024. They competed on Simon Cowell’s team, and were eliminated during the semi-finals.

Sofie Dossi

Contortionist Sofie Dossi was 14 years old when she auditioned for AGT‘s 11th season. She made jaws drop as she balanced on a cane with one hand, grabbed an apple with her legs, and shot a bow with her feet while holding a headstand. All four judges gave her “yes” votes and sent her to the Judge Cuts stage of the competition.

Dossi performed another mind-blowing act during the Judge Cuts. She hung on an elevated hoop by the back of her neck, balanced on top of rotating canes, and shot a flaming arrow out of a bow with her feet.

Guest judge Reba McEntire wasted no time in awarding Dossi her Golden Buzzer, which sent the talented young competitor directly to the quarterfinals. Dossi continued to impress on AGT, and advanced into the Top 10 before she was eliminated.

She later competed on The Champions and Fantasy League. Her preliminary performance on the latter show led to another Golden Buzzer moment, thanks to judge Heidi Klum. Dossi finished in the Top 10 on Fantasy League.

Roberta Battaglia

10-year-old Roberta Battaglia auditioned for Season 15 of AGT. After conquering her nerves, she delivered a chill-inducing performance of “Shallow” from the 2018 movie A Star is Born.

After she finished singing, Battaglia opened up to the judges, saying how other kids pick on her sometimes. Moved by her story and performance, judge Sofia Vergara said:

You’re ten years old; that’s impossible to sing like that at ten years old. And you know what? Let’s see who’s going to bully you after this…” Then, Vergara pressed the Golden Buzzer for Battaglia.

The young singer continued to showcase her talent as she advanced throughout the competition, ultimately finishing in fourth place.

Darci Lynne

Darci Lynne was only 12 years old when she auditioned for Season 12 of AGT. She stunned everyone who watched as she blended elements of singing and ventriloquism in her audition performance with her puppet, Petunia.

It’s hard enough to perform ventriloquy in a speaking voice. But Lynne raised the bar by SINGING as Petunia…all while keeping her mouth closed. She further impressed the judges as she seamlessly switched between Petunia’s cartoony rabbit voice and her natural singing voice.

Judge Mel B rushed to press the Golden Buzzer at the end of Lynne’s unbelievable performance. Lynne continued to amaze throughout the competition, and ended up winning the season. Fellow Golden Buzzer recipient Angelica Hale came in second place.

Lynne has performed on AGT as a guest several times in the years since her big win. She’s also competed on two spin-off shows, The Champions and Fantasy League. She was the runner-up on the former show’s first season.

Mzansi Youth Choir

After watching a former contestant’s performance, South Africa’s Mzansi Youth Choir felt inspired to audition for AGT‘s 18th season. The contestant who inspired them was Nightbirde, Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer recipient from Season 16.

Sadly, Nightbirde passed away in 2022, the year before the Mzansi Youth Choir auditioned for AGT.

As a tribute to Nightbirde, the Mzansi Youth Choir performed her original song “It’s OK” for their audition. Their performance moved Cowell and many others to tears.

The audience got the chance to act as “the fifth judge” for the first time in AGT history. They elected to push the Golden Buzzer for the Mzansi Youth Choir.

The Mzansi Youth Choir eventually finished within the Top 11.


Speaking of Nightbirde, this list would not be complete without her emotional and inspiring audition.

Nightbirde, whose real name was Jane Marczewski, was 30 years old when she auditioned for AGT‘s 16th season. She opened up to the judges about her battle with cancer, but emphasized, “It’s important that everyone knows I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me.”

From there, Nightbirde delivered a tear-jerking performance of her original song, “It’s OK.” Moved by her voice and story, Simon Cowell gave Nightbirde the ultimate “yes” vote by pressing the Golden Buzzer.

Sadly, Nightbirde’s first performance on AGT was also her last. Her health worsened, and she was forced to withdraw from the competition.

Nightbirde kept in touch with Cowell and AGT after her audition aired. She also continued to share health updates and motivating messages on social media.

AGT fans’ hearts were broken when Nightbirde passed away on February 20, 2022, at the age of 31.

Now, Nightbirde’s legacy lives on through the millions of lives she touched with her Golden Buzzer performance on AGT. She and her music will never be forgotten.