America's Got Talent competition can be very stiff as the best of the best take the stage to try and get one step closer to the grand prize. Lucky competitors get a golden buzzer from one of the judges or host to advance straight to the live shows. By the June 25 episode of Season 14, only new judge Julianne Hough had a golden buzzer left. In a bonkers twist, the golden buzzer did get hit before the night was through, but Julianne wasn't the one to hit it, and history was made.
Australian dancer Ben Trigger was the last act of the night, so viewers could be pretty confident that he would be getting the golden buzzer. What viewers couldn't have seen coming was that Trigger would hit the golden buzzer himself.
Yes, for the first time in America's Got Talent history, a competitor went rogue and hit the golden buzzer himself rather than waiting and hoping for one of the judges to hit it for him. The good news is that the judges found it hilarious rather than irritating, and Ben Trigger could have a long future on the show despite not actually earning a golden buzzer. Take a look at how it happened!
That was a wild ride of a performance, as the Australian dancer first shared his story of the injury that could have destroyed his dance career, then began a performance that very much did not impress any of the judges, then shifted to a strip dance to Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland."
While the judges were shocked and entertained -- although also clearly a little thrown at first -- by the turn of events, Simon Cowell was enthusiastic by the time Ben Trigger approached their panel table to dance for them up close. I never thought I would see Simon give a "Come hither" look to a guy from Australian shaking tassels in a sparkly barely-there outfit, but that's what summer TV is for, right?
In the process of showing off a backbend over the table, though, the golden buzzer was hit. Not by Julianne Hough or any of the other judges, but by Ben Trigger himself. The reactions of the judges was hilarious enough that I actually missed the look on Trigger's face on my first watch. It seems pretty clear that he didn't deliberately hit the golden buzzer as part of a stunt, but genuinely hit it accidentally and just recovered well.
All the judges enjoyed what they saw, with Howie Mandel referring to it as his "favorite golden buzzer moment" in all the time that he'd been on AGT, and that's saying something! Howie has been a judge since way back in Season 5.
When new judge Gabrielle Union asked if a contestant hitting his own golden buzzer had ever happened before, Howie laughingly declared "Never!" I'm not sure anybody would have objected if Terry Crews gave himself a golden buzzer after losing his shirt to play the flute last week, though. I'd watch that again in the live shows!
Well, congrats to Ben Trigger! He may not have earned a golden buzzer from one of the judges, and he didn't get a celebratory Dirty Dancing-esque lift like one of the actual Season 14 golden buzzer winners, but he got a "yes" from each judge and will return in the next round of competition. See who he'll face off against with new episodes of America's Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.