Watch America's Got Talent Season 17's First Golden Buzzer Winner Move The Crowd To Tears With Incredible Story And Performance

Spoilers ahead for the Season 17 premiere of America’s Got Talent on NBC.

America’s Got Talent has returned for another season of action on NBC, and the Season 17 premiere closed out the night by tugging at the heartstrings in epic fashion. As per usual, the episode saved the big golden buzzer moment until the very end, and the buzzer winner this week had such a moving story and performance that plenty of people in the crowd – as well as judge Sofia Vergara and prolific host Terry Crews – were in tears. Saxophone player Avery Dixon came to the AGT stage with a performance that surely would have earned him a "yes" from each judge… if he’d needed them! Instead, he got the first golden buzzer of the season thanks to Crews. 

Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum were impressed with Avery Dixon as soon as he walked out on stage due to the snazziness of his outfit, but the Atlanta-based 21-year-old saxophonist would soon wow them and everybody else with much more than his suit. He told the story of how he was bullied in school to the point of considering suicide, but chose to focus on mastering the saxophone. Dixon bravely opened up about some of the specific challenges that he overcame because of his bullies before taking up his instrument. 

Can anybody blame Terry Crews for deciding to hit the golden buzzer in Avery Dixon’s honor after all of that?! Audience members were crying, Sofia Vergara was crying, Terry Crews was crying, Dixon and his mom were crying… and honestly, I’d be very surprised if there weren’t plenty of viewers from home reaching for the tissues as well. Heidi Klum commented “Not a dry eye in the house!” at the very end, and Vergara remarked that she was crying even though she “never” cries. Howie Mandel didn’t seem to be tearing up, but as Klum noted, Mandel dancing during an act is a big deal. 

Personally, I started getting emotional before he even started to play, when he shared the story that he wasn’t even able to practice at home without the police being called with a noise complaint. Simon Cowell had the perfect response:

Here, you can be as loud as you like.

And Avery Dixon was certainly as loud as he liked, because he all but blew the roof off of the theater with his saxophone performance! Even if he hadn’t gotten the golden buzzer from Terry Crews, it’s safe to say that Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel would have joined Simon Cowell in giving Dixon a “yes.” In fact, it’s only because Cowell seemed to eager to give Dixon the “yes” as quickly as possible that he was able to get in a vote before Crews could come down from the stage and hit the buzzer. Watch the full story in his own words, and check out the performance that followed to see why so many people were in tears: 

All things considered, Avery Dixon felt like the perfect performer to cap off the night of the AGT Season 17 premiere, and to set the stage for the second round of auditions next week. I feel like Season 17 is already off to a stronger start than America’s Got Talent: Extreme earlier this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. And honestly? I’m kind of hoping for another appearance from Sethward. I may not have been his biggest fan to start, but after a few years, he won me over!

Tune in to NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see new episodes of America’s Got Talent. The summer TV lineup is beginning, so be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule for more viewing options as temperatures continue to heat up.

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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. 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).