Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of America's Got Talent Season 17 are ahead!
No season of America's Got Talent is complete without young performers proving that kids can be serious competition for the adults in the chase for the top prize, and the second golden buzzer of Season 17 revealed that the adults have an 11-year-old powerhouse to contend with in the live shows. Madison Taylor Baez took the stage for an amazing rendition of "Amazing Grace" that took the judges by surprise for more than one reason. They thought she was just an audience member with some pipes!
11-year-old Madison Taylor Baez has been wanting to compete on AGT since she was just 4 years old, and her dream came true in Season 17... but not how anybody could have expected it. When she showed up for the auditions, the AGT production team sent her out to sit in the audience, and got her chance to sing during the commercial break behind-the-scenes.
This happens regularly on the talent competition show, but the reactions of Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara make it very clear that a performance like Madison's doesn't happen every day, and it's no surprise that she got a golden buzzer from Mandel after not only her powerful performance, but also her emotional story. And two standing ovations don't hurt either! Take a look:
I hope I'm not the only viewer who was emotional after watching Madison Taylor Baez finally have her shot at blowing the judges away, and succeeding so thoroughly! Honestly, she had me won over just from how overjoyed she was to sing on AGT, plus the performance itself. Her reactions to everybody else's reactions – and her announcement that she'd want to use the prize money to help her father while he's been struggling cancer – just sealed the deal.
Throw in her dad's reveal that she learned to sing so she could sing for him at the hospital during his chemo treatments, and I was about ready to reach for the tissues. Brava to Madison for her performance, and bravo to Howie Mandel for hitting the golden buzzer for her!
On the whole, possibly my favorite moment of all the reactions to this little girl coming up from the audience to blow everybody away came from Simon Cowell. His small gesture to encourage Madison to continue on to the second verse of "Amazing Grace" was lovely, and seemed to come from a genuine place of wanting to hear her sing more. (He definitely seemed happier with her "Amazing Grace" than with the "The Parmesan Cheese Song" last week!)
The crowd that had already jumped to their feet for an ovation after the first verse jumped right back down to listen to the second, and more than one person in the audience was crying.
Madison Taylor Baez is the second golden buzzer winner of Season 17, after host Terry Crews hit his buzzer in the premiere for the 21-year-old saxophonist Avery Dixon who also had pretty much everybody in tears from his emotional story and powerful performance. (You can rewatch the full episode streaming with a Peacock subscription.)
They're currently the only two contestants of this season who are guaranteed a slot in the live shows, but three more will join them before the auditions are over, when Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell choose theirs. Cowell's golden buzzer from Season 16 sadly had to withdraw from competition before the end due to health reasons, and she passed away earlier this year.
For now, you can look forward to new episodes of America's Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. If you're in the market for some more summer viewing options, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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