America’s Got Talent: Frontline Choir Gets Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 1601 -- Pictured: Northwell Nurse Choir -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Pictured: Northwell Nurse Choir — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Northwell Health Nurse Choir: Frontline Workers Get Howie’s AGT Golden Buzzer

America’s Got Talent returned for Season 16 on Tuesday night (June 1) as did the coveted Golden Buzzer. And it was judge Howie Mandel who hit the button first, for the Northwell Health Nurse Choir. (Read full recap HERE.)

“We aren’t professional singers, we take care of patients” said one of the members in the opening package, calling taking care of people their “destiny.” They shared the difficulty of dealing with Covid. Watching patients be alone was especially hard, as nurses stepped in to offer comfort for absent family members. Despite all the heartbreak, music brought them hope during dark and trying times. 

Choir mashes up “Lean on Me” with “Stand by Me”

Northwell is a part of the largest health system in New York with 18,000 nurses. The choir is made up of 18 of those nurses. On the show, they sang a pleasant mashup of “Lean On Me” and “Stand By Me.” It’s merely pleasant, until  some beatboxing comes in. The vocals seem to be a bit tuned like AGT auditions have been in the past, and the backing vocals could use a bit more dynamics. The transition into beatboxing and belting got closer to what I was hoping for, but that little extra bit of energy in the vocals was still missing. This was a very by the numbers cover in terms of artistic and musical choices.

However, the performance from the choir was the perfect note for the show’s return,  especially as the country finally starts to reach a light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of the pandemic. 

Howie Mandel Calls Northwell Choir “Heroic” hits the Golden Buzzer

The judges gave the choir a standing ovation. Simon said, “We need you, the world needs you.” Sofia said that the performance was “beautiful and heartfelt” and “perfection.” Heidi called it “beautiful,” and noted that especially the words, “lean on me” stand out right now. And finally Howie called them “heroic”. He noted how beautiful the song is and how they “stand by people you don’t know.” He then hit the golden buzzer, sending them straight to the live shows.

I am not sure how far they will go, but this heartfelt story was for sure touching. They aren’t the best choir we’ve seen, but I understand why it got a golden buzzer. Only time will tell if they have more in them than what they revealed in their audition.

The night’s lineup was a bit underwhelming

As far as the night’s lineup is concerned, I found it a bit underwhelming especially since the number of talented contestants who auditioned this season is high.

Acts included magician Dustin Tavella, a couple of kid acts like comedian (“Lil”) Hunter Kelly who auditioned after his father, and singer Peter Rosalita. The dog act, The Canine Stars, that opened the show,  was creative. The wacky acts included Sethward, who finally got 4 yeses on his fourth try at AGT, and dancer Keith Apicary who somehow made it through.

The acts of the night for me were aerialist Aiden Bryant who I think is more deserving of a golden buzzer, and singing trio 1Achord who performed a masterful and artistic version of “Fix You,” seemed as good at arranging as former contestants Sons of Serendip.


About Blake Busch 274 Articles
I am a graduate of Drake University with a BSBA in marketing and minor in data analytics. My favorite shows to follow are American Idol and The Voice. I also love crime thrillers, Top Chef, and Masterchef. My hobbies include cooking, baking, playing basketball, and watching sports.