Season 14 of America's Got Talent is almost done with the initial auditions round, and the talent pool so far has ranged from mind-blowing to confusing (thanks, Gingzilla) to downright questionable. The judges have been hitting the golden buzzer to advance their favorites ahead to the live shows without needing to worry about the second audition round, and new host Terry Crews recently slammed the buzzer after watching an emotional performance by the Detroit Youth Choir.
The group of young people, led by longtime choir director Anthony White, performed a lovely and lively rendition of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us," and the performance was such a hit that it's already worth wondering if the Detroit Youth Choir could be the first choir to ever win America's Got Talent. Other choirs, like Angel City Chorale with their show-stopping performances, have gotten pretty far in the competition, but never has a choir claimed the top prize.
Could the Detroit Youth Choir be the first? There are definitely reasons to suspect that they have what it takes. First, check out the performance for yourself:
What's not to love about the debut performance of the Detroit Youth Choir on America's Got Talent? Honestly, even if the performance had been lackluster, I still would have wanted to root for them based on their reactions, not to mention Terry Crews' reaction! The Michigan native was on the verge of tears thanks to that performance, and his response to the Detroit Youth Choir is a stark contrast to his pec-jumping actions earlier in the episode.
Fortunately, the performance was very much not lackluster, and it may have nailed enough variables to carry the Detroit Youth Choir to the grand prize at the end of Season 14. Let's start with the #1 requirement for an AGT champion: talent.
There can be no denying that the young people of the Detroit Youth Choir are talented. Even if the judges do sometimes have a softer touch with young competitors than they do with the adults, kids don't get a free pass just for being young and enthusiastic on America's Got Talent. The whole ensemble of this choir delivered from start to finish.
There's more to successful performances on America's Got Talent than just talent, however. Competitors need a certain degree of showmanship to succeed. It's why magicians can be so hit or miss on the show. Some have showmanship on top of the sleight-of-hand that can elevate them to AGT champion and -- in one case -- AGT: The Champions champion. Others have the sleight-of-hand but not the showmanship, and they don't go as far.
The kids of the Detroit Youth Choir definitely have the showmanship down, as is clear when they transition from the traditional choir vocals to the more intense section involving synchronized dance moves. They were fun to watch, and that's very important on AGT.
Winning acts also need to have audience appeal, obviously. The Detroit Youth Choir made an impression on the judges before they even sang a single note, and the audience reaction set the stage for something that could be truly remarkable. Like with Joseph Allen earlier in Season 14, the in-house audience's response raised the stakes, and the young singers delivered.
The audience watching the performance live loved it, and their enthusiasm was contagious. The judges certainly loved it as well, and there can be no doubt that they would have advanced the choir even if Terry Crews hadn't slammed the golden buzzer. The performance was fantastic, the tears were flowing freely from the happy singers, and the whole thing was an emotional act worth a rewatch.
Of course, the in-house audience and panel of judges aren't going to be the ones to decide the winner of AGT Season 14. The champion will be determined by viewers watching from home, and all the ovations in the world won't make a difference to performers if they don't connect with folks through the TV screen.
Well, there can be no doubt that folks who weren't present during filming are big fans of the Detroit Youth Choir as well. At the time of writing, less than 24 hours after their performance aired on AGT, the Detroit Youth Choir's rendition of "Can't Hold Us" has accumulated 2.7 million views on YouTube. Although it's not the biggest winner of the night, that's still a very significant number, and one that is undoubtedly going to rise.
If the Detroit Youth Choir continues to have Terry Crews on their side, they could get a lot of attention from viewers. Crews has already made his mark as host, and I can't image that many fans dislike him after seeing him embrace the America's Got Talent shenanigans so enthusiastically.
Besides, who else could have pulled off a Dirty Dancing-esque lift with a contestant? Or played the flute to "Pony" in an unexpectedly Magic Mike-ish performance? And who else would have had such an emotional reaction to the performance? Terry Crews' background as a kid from Flint, Michigan definitely gave him a reason to form a connection with the kids from Detroit, as he said in the episode.
All of this said, there is still a long road ahead before the champion of America's Got Talent Season 14 is decided. Although the golden buzzer does mean that the Detroit Youth Choir will be automatically advanced to the live shows, it also means that they'll have less audience exposure than other acts who make it to the live shows without the golden buzzer.
Will the early advancement mean they'll have the time to perfect their next performance? Or will they suffer for not getting to make another impression on viewers until the live shows? We'll have to wait and see.
Although it'll be a while before AGT fans get to see the Detroit Youth Choir back in action, their competition will still be hitting the stage as the initial audition round continues. New episodes of America's Got Talent air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.