America's Got Talent: Watch The Emotional Performance That Changed Heidi Klum's Mind About Hitting The Golden Buzzer

Heidi Klum on America's Got Talent Season 17
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the June 28 episode of America’s Got Talent Season 17 auditions

The auditions round of America’s Got Talent has almost come to an end, and the fifth week of this round delivered the fifth and final golden buzzer of Season 17. After Terry Crews delivered the first back in the premiere, Heidi Klum saved hers for a very special performer who fans finally got to see on June 28. In fact, singer Lily Meola’s emotional performance packed such a punch that Klum actually changed her mind about hitting the golden buzzer this season. 

Lily Meola took the stage with a song called “Daydream,” but she had the judges and the audience invested even before the first note. She shared the story of how her life and career were looking up when she got some heartbreaking news with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and she became the full-time caretaker until her mom passed away. 

Her mom's diagnosis resulted in the loss of her record deal, but she decided that it was “a bit of a blessing” because it gave her extra time to be there for her. After admitting that she would have a hard time singing after losing her mom who was her “biggest cheerleader,” she began her song anyway, and it was enough to blow Heidi Klum’s mind. Take a look:

Lily Meola may have made it through the song without crying, but that’s probably not the case for everybody watching. The lyrics were emotional on their own; combined with her story, they made her performance one of the most impactful of the night. All four judges were clearly fans of her performance, so it’s safe to say that it’s not quite as divisive as an act from the previous episode! Heidi Klum certainly felt that she stood out enough that she decided to break her own rule for Season 17 and hit the golden buzzer. 

After Meola finished her song before she got the wonderful surprise of the golden buzzer, Klum said that the singer just lit up on stage and she “fell in love” with her as soon as she heard her sing. Then, the judge dropped the big news about how Meola changed what she'd intended for Season 17: 

For this season, Season 17, I was like, ‘There’s always a lot of singers on the stage, and I want to give someone else a shot,’ but I can’t help it. Because I really really like you, so I’m going to do this. I’m going to push the golden buzzer for you. It’s you!

Heidi Klum certainly has a point about seeing a lot of singers on America’s Got Talent, and three of the other four golden buzzer winners of Season 17 were musicians. Although Terry Crews’ selection was of a saxophonist rather than a singer, Howie Mandel hit his buzzer for the 11-year-old powerhouse singer who put the “amazing” in “Amazing Grace,” and Simon Cowell made a teenage singer’s dream come true when she came all the way from Poland to perform. (Sofia Vergara’s golden buzzer went to a hypnotizing dance group from Lebanon, which you can rewatch streaming with a Peacock subscription.)

Fans won’t see Lily Meola again until the live shows round of competition since Heidi Klum guaranteed that she would move ahead, but there are still plenty of talented acts on the way. Keep tuning in to NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to catch the newest episodes of America’s Got Talent Season 17, and check out our 2022 TV schedule for some more viewing options.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).