In the land of opportunity, nothing is more exciting than watching people try to make their wildest dreams become a reality. And no show is better for that than America’s Got Talent.
In recent years, the show put in a new gimmick called the Golden Buzzer, which allows the judges to single-handedly put someone through, if they think they’re particularly special. It has made for some magical moments, and on the other hand, some moments that not everyone agreed on. Here is a list of seven Golden Buzzer winners that shouldn’t have won it, and three who definitely should have.
10 Got Wrong: The Hudson Brothers
Ok, these guys can be kind of funny, but not golden buzzer funny. Emmanuel and Philip Hudson auditioned for season nine of AGT, as a comedy duo. Coming out in a wig, a dress and some exaggerated makeup, bashing a certain type of woman can only go so far before it’s just annoying, and downright insulting. Unlike a lot of Golden Buzzer winners, half of the judging panel didn’t even want to vote them through, which is a bit unusual. They were awarded their moment by judge Howie Mandel, who gave them the Golden Buzzer because he believed they could be very successful comedians.
9 Absolutely Nailed: Tyler Butler-Figueroa
Young violinist, Tyler Butler-Figueroa, auditioned for season fourteen of America’s Got Talent. When he was just four-years-old, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and in turn, bullied by his fellow classmates, at school. Tyler learned to play the violin, finding a positive outlet to block out all the negativity going on in his life. He brought the house down with his instrumental version of Kelly Clarkson’s "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger." The judging panel was very moved, particularly judge Simon Cowell, who gave Tyler the Golden Buzzer. He was the first violinist to win the Golden Buzzer at the tender age of just 11-years-old and soon to get a record deal.
8 Got Wrong: Dorothy Williams
Oh Dorothy. She was so charming and entertaining, but not so sure she was Golden Buzzer worthy. Dorothy Williams came on to America’s Got Talent in season eleven, as a 90-year-old burlesque dancer.
It was beyond empowering to watch a woman come on, let alone a woman of her age, with so much spunk, so much movement and energy, but I think it really all depends on what your criteria is for a winning act. Intriguing and cute, yes, but moving? She was rewarded her buzzer moment by judge, Howie Mandel, who felt there was most definitely an audience for her somewhere.
7 Got Wrong: Arielle Baril
Arielle came on as a very young opera singer, taught to perform by her older brother, who also loves to sing. However, her voice was just not mature enough yet. I’m really not in the position to judge her ability to sing opera, because that is far out of my wheelhouse, but going off what I heard, it sounded a bit premature for her to possibly be entertaining a Las Vegas audience every single night. With a few more years of training, I’m sure Arielle will be amazing, but for now I’m going to have to give her a no.
6 Got Wrong: Angelica Hale
Singer Angelica Hale auditioned for both season twelve of America’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent: Champions. In doing so, she became the first contestant to ever win the Golden Buzzer twice. The first Golden Buzzer was given by guest judge, Chris Hardwick and the second buzzer was given by panel member, Howie Mandel. In season twelve, Angelica came in second runner-up in the season finale. She was a very promising young singer, but at the time, still lacked a sense of skill and maturity. Her cuteness factor definitely played a part in the making of her Golden Buzzer moments.
5 Absolutely Nailed: Kseniya Simonova
She was simply amazing. Kseniya Simonova is a professional sand artist who actually won Ukraine’s Got Talent, back in 2009. She auditioned for America’ s Got Talent: Champions and won everyone over with her compelling and exquisite form of art. In particular, she caught the eye of the show host, Terry Crews, who quickly ran from the stage to push the Golden Buzzer. Simonova’s work is a delicate way of story-telling, transforming sand with a lightbox into many different images and illusions. It is truly something beautiful and awe inspiring, and I can’t think of a single act that can compare to this one.
4 Got Wrong: Angelina Green
Thirteen-year-old Angelina Green is another young singer to audition for the show. In season eleven of America’s Got Talent, Angelina came on and caught the attention of judge, Heidi Klum. Klum awarded Angelina’s rendition of "I’ll Stand by You" by The Pretenders, by hitting her Golden Buzzer.
She made it to the quarterfinals, but she was the only Golden Buzzer winner of season 12 to not make it to the semifinals. Green’s natural talent cannot be denied, but it is another case of lack of experience and skill set. Her voice is pretty but still needs training and time to mature.
3 Got Wrong: Sal Valentinetti
A former pizza delivery man, Sal Valentinetti auditioned to be a contestant on season eleven of America’s Got Talent. He performed a cover of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra and impressed all of the judges with his crooner style and suave approach. Although he had a smooth tone, that could easily be compared to Dean Martin, James Dean or Frank Sinatra himself, his outgoing, debonair personality seemed to be more of the reason he got the Golden ticket than anything else. Heidi Klum took a very special liking to him and was the judge to hit the buzzer for him.
2 Got Wrong: Dustin’s Dojo
If the Golden Buzzer is meant for people who do something way out of the box, then I guess they got it right with this act. Dustin’s Dojo was a comedy martial arts act, and yes, you read that correctly. They auditioned during season nine of AGT, and much like The Hudson Brothers, their comedic style only made sense to half of the judging panel. It was Howard Stern who pushed the Golden Buzzer for them. Although they should be applauded for trying to bring something new and different to the table, it was not necessarily worth the Golden Buzzer.
1 Absolutely Nailed: Susan Boyle
The myth, the legend, it’s Susan Boyle. Susan auditioned for season three of Britain’s Got Talent, and blew the nation away with her emotional rendition of Les Misérables, "I Dreamed A Dreamed." Nine years later, Susan came back for America’s Got Talent: Champions, and again astounded everyone with a cover of Rolling Stone’s, “Wild Horses.” It didn’t take long for judge Mel B. to slam the Golden Buzzer. After a sweet reunion with judge Simon Cowell, he told her “I can’t think of any other contestant who has defined this show better than you have.” We couldn’t agree more, Simon.