Jake’s Take: The Top 10 “America’s Got Talent” Golden Buzzer moments (so far)

These five people have the power to change someone’s life with the Golden Buzzer. (Photo property of NBC, Syco Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

My favorite summer talent competition is back! America’s Got Talent (AGT) is returning Tuesday to NBC for its 12th season! Also making a splash for the fourth season in the row is the Golden Buzzer.

For the past three years, the Golden Buzzer has the power to change any act’s life for the better.  The Golden Buzzer gives the judge who presses this device the power to send an act of their choosing either to the next round of competition or directly to the live shows.  However, the judges can only use it once a series.

Jake’s Take is saluting the Golden Buzzer by reliving some of the best acts that received this game-changing component of the NBC talent series.

#10: Dustin’s Dojo (Season Nine)-Howard Stern [2014]

The kooky comedy duo, Dustin’s Dojo, was the first act to receive the Golden Buzzer when the show introduced it in Season Nine. Dustin and his masked friend, Terry, gave a rousing but polarizing comedic performance that showcased their silly karate skills that then Head Judge Howard Stern and Howie Mandel linked to the Three Stooges. However, Heidi Klum and Mel B thought that Dustin’s Dojo was childish and said: “No!” A pissed off King of All Media decided to break the tie and pushed the Golden Buzzer.

#9: Piff the Magic Dragon (Season 10)-Neil Patrick Harris [2015]

One of my favorite comedic magicians that ever appeared on the series is Piff the Magic Dragon. I loved his dry, sarcastic wit and enjoyed his interactions with his sidekick: Mr. Piffles. For his Judges’ Cuts performance, Piff once again called on Heidi Klum, who assisted Piff during the Judges’ Auditions, to help him out. From Heidi and Piff’s awkward hug to the discovery of Heidi’s autographed card in Mr. Piffles’ dog food, this routine was genius! Piff received superb compliments from the judges but got a special gift from fellow magician and Season 10 guest judge Neil Patrick Harris—a ticket to the Radio City Music Hall live shows.

#8: Jon Dorenbos (Season 11)-Ne-Yo [2016]

Philadelphia Eagles long hiker Jon Dorenbos became a fan-favorite act during the Judges’ Auditions, but it was not until he reached the Season 11 Judges’ Cuts where he cemented his place as a frontrunner (and eventual finalist). For his set, Jon asked guest (and future World of Dance) judge Ne-Yo to pick out a giant playing card from his huge deck.  The “Let Me Love You” singer chose the five-of-clubs and Jon used ESP to draw the ace-of-clubs. However, just before a judge could hit a buzzer, Jon drew a deck of cards which included Ne-Yo’s card. Suddenly, an image of the five-of-clubs was revealed on the drawing!  The impressed superstar gave the football player a ticket to the Dolby Theatre live shows.


(Photo property of NBC & Syco Television)

#7: Sal Valentinetti (Season 11)-Heidi Klum [2016]

I remembered watching Sal Valentinetti audition during one of the final seasons of American Idol, and I was aggravated that then judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Jennifer Lopez eliminated him over subpar talents such as Daniel Seavey, Qaasim Middleton, and the Season 14 winner Nick Fradiani. However, I was more than excited to hear his phenomenal velvet voice once again. His version of “My Way” oozed so much charisma and gave me a strong case of the goose bumps.  Thankfully, Heidi gave something that Keith, Harry, and J.Lo did not give him: his big break and her Golden Buzzer.


Sharon Irving America's Got Talent

(Photo property of NBC & SYCO Entertainment)

#6: Sharon Irving (Season 10)-Mel B [2015]

America’s Got Talent’s tenth anniversary season had strong singers, but Chicago-based singer Sharon Irving stood out from the crowd. The way she delivered Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” was outstanding and her voice had me hooked from the first vocal phrase. I was so ecstatic when Mel B shouted: “I’m going to press the GOLDEN BUZZER!” from the top of her lungs, because of all the performers that graced the Radio City Music Hall stage that season, Sharon Irving remains the only solo singer that made an impact.

#5: Freckled Sky (Season 10)-Howard Stern [2015]

Dancers Jalen and Olga, along with their impeccable director Val Syganevich, brought something special for Season 10. By combining dance, lighting, and water, Jalen and Olga executed one of the best first auditions in AGT history.  Not only did the duo received the rare four-judge standing ovation, but Freckled Sky were also the proud recipients of the King of All Media’s final Golden Buzzer.


(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & Syco Entertainment)

#4: Sofie Dossi (Season 11)-Reba [2016]

I admit that I have issues with younger kids performing on AGT. However, Sofie Dossi proved me wrong when this self-taught contortionist auditioned for last season. Her pure talent combined with the element of danger and props built by her father made Sofie one of my favorite acts from last season. Guest judge Reba stated it best when the music legend awarded her the Golden Buzzer: “I think actions speak louder than words.” I cannot wait to see what Sofie does next.

#3: Drew Lynch (Season 10)-Howie Mandel [2015]

There have been auditions that have moved me to tears at times, and Drew Lynch remains one of the acts that always make me start the waterworks. Drew auditioned during the tenth anniversary season, and he did not let his speech impediment get the best of him. His work got the crowd on his side and moved the veteran judge so much that he became the first of Howie’s Golden Buzzer acts to make it to the Final Two acts left standing. Drew’s name will definitely be in the mix if I name the most AGT inspirational acts of all-time.



(Photo property of NBC, Syco Entertainment & Fremantle Media North America)

#2: Malevo (Season 11)-George Lopez [2016]

Dance troupe Malevo has been one of the show’s hottest dance acts in years! These men transported the audience to their hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina with a fiery routine during the Season 11 Judges’ Cuts. Their impeccable footwork had both the audience and Mel B screaming in delight. Guest judge George Lopez approved the act by doing a mini stomp session and awarding them with the Golden Buzzer.

(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment)

#1: Siro-A (Season 10)-Piers Morgan [2015]

For AGT’s tenth anniversary, the show brought back former head judge Piers Morgan to be a guest judge during the Judges’ Cuts. While Piers made his presence known by buzzing acts left and right, dance performance Siro-A softened the harsh judge with their impressive choreography and visual effects that spellbound the crowd. In fact, Piers believed that in all of the six years of talent that he saw on the show, no act rivaled Siro-A in both creativity and originality. Before he pressed the Golden Buzzer, Piers bluntly asked Siro-A if they believed if they were worthy of the Golden Buzzer, and their choreographer stated that “they believed so” and the rest they say is AGT history.

I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. The clips are properties of SYCO Entertainment & NBC.


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