Jake’s Take’s Tenth Anniversary – My Favorite ‘AGT’ Golden Buzzer Performances

Howie, Sofia, Simon, Terry, and Heidi will start looking for their Golden Buzzer acts on June 1. (Photos and graphics property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

2021 not only marks jakes-take.com’s tenth anniversary, but this will be my tenth season covering NBC’s long-running talent competition: America’s Got Talent.  I started covering AGT during its seventh season and throughout the years, I have seen the show grow bigger in statute and in competition.

One of my favorite parts of the Judges’ Auditions is the Golden Buzzer. Since its inception back in Season Nine, the Golden Buzzer has given the judges and host the power to immediately advance an act of their choosing to the live rounds (or in the case of  the Champions spin-off directly to the finale).

Nearly 60 performers have received the Golden Buzzer, but I have narrowed it down to my Top 10.  Without further ado, here are my favorite Golden Buzzer performances of all-time.

#10-Kodi Lee (Singer + Pianist; America’s Got Talent: Season 14 WINNER; Gabrielle Union)

AGT: Season 14 Winner Kodi Lee kicks off the countdown! His powerful interpretation of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” blew me away and left millions of viewers in tears. Thankfully, Gabrielle Union recognized his massive showmanship and sent him through to the Season 14 live shows. His audition on AGT’s official YouTube channel has been seen over 65 million times.

Darci and Petunia’s AGT debut scored nearly 90 million views on the show’s official YouTube channel. Video property of NBC & Fremantle)

#9-Darci Lynne Farmer (Ventriloquist; America’s Got Talent: Season 12 WINNER; Mel B) 

Four years ago, Darci Lynne Farmer’s life was changed forever when former judge Mel B pressed the Golden Buzzer. The Oklahoma City native introduced the world to Petunia the Bunny and sang a spectacular cover of “Summertime” that made the nation’s jaws collectively drop. 

Ukraine’s Got Talent winner Kseniya Simonova earned Terry Crews’ first Golden Buzzer on AGT-Champions: Season One. (Video property of NBC & Fremantle)

#8-Kseniya Simonova (Sand Artist; America’s Got Talent: The Champions-Season One Third Place Finalist; Terry Crews)

I loved AGT: Champions because it featured some of Got Talent’s best acts from around the world. Ukraine’s Got Talent champion Kseniya Simonova weaved an emotional story out of the sand during the inaugural season. Kseniya captured the audience’s imagination from start to finish, and it earned Terry Crews’ first Golden Buzzer.

Angel City Chorale’s beautiful performance of “Baba Yetu” earned guest judge Olivia Munn’s Golden Buzzer in the Season 13 Judge Cuts rounds. (Video property of NBC & Fremantle)

#7-Angel City Chorale (Choir; America’s Got Talent: Season 13 Semifinalists; Guest Judge Olivia Munn)

Angel City Chorale will always be in my pantheon of AGT’s most extraordinary music acts of all time. Under the direction of Sue Fink, this massive choir from all different backgrounds in life delivered an outstanding performance of “Baba Yetu.” From the impeccable vocals to the superb choreography, it is no wonder why The Newsroom actress selected them to advance to the Season 13 live shows.

Light Balance won Tyra Banks’ Golden Buzzer during the Season 12 Judge Auditions. (Video property of Fremantle & NBC)

#6-Light Balance (Light Up Dance Troupe; America’s Got Talent: Season 12 Third Place Finalists; Tyra Banks)

Light Balance changed the game when they auditioned for AGT in 2017. They incorporated so many elements from past AGT acts such as Fighting Gravity, Team iLuminate, and Siro-A but elevated to a current level of excellence. It was not only a fantastic showcase but one of the season’s best moments. 

Malevo’s fiery Judge Cuts performance earned guest judge George Lopez’s Golden Buzzer during AGT: Season 11. (Video property of NBC & Fremantle)

#5-Malevo (Dance Troupe; America’s Got Talent: Season 11 Semifinalists; Guest Judge George Lopez) 

The Argentinian dance troupe set the bar high for dance acts during the early days of the Simon Cowell era of AGT. Malevo brought the heat and set the Season 11 Judge Cuts’ stage on fire with their superb choreography, fantastic drumming, and fiery whips. Not only did the audition make Mel B scream with pure delight, but the guys earned guest judge George Lopez’s Golden Buzzer. 

Drew Lynch’s Golden Buzzer audition was a moving moment during AGT’s tenth anniversary season. (Video property of NBC & Fremantle)

#4-Drew Lynch (Comedian; America’s Got Talent: Season 10 RUNNER-UP; Howie Mandel) 

Drew Lynch’s audition during the Season 10 Judges’ Auditions made me weep. Seeing Drew deliver his material with his stutter made me smile and laugh. I loved his stories about his struggles working at a drive-thru, and his joke about his voice being a GPS navigator sealed the deal. But it was Howie’s emotional reason on why Drew got his Golden Buzzer that made it a history-making moment. 

#3-Cristina Rae (Singer; America’s Got Talent: Season 15 Third Place Finalist; Heidi Klum)

Cristina Rae delivered one of the best singing auditions in years during AGT’s fifteenth anniversary season. While she provided a superb cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” it was Simon who wanted more. That’s when Cristina took it to another level. Her robust cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” was one of the best performances I have seen on Reality TV during my tenure covering the show. I was so happy when Heidi Klum pressed her Golden Buzzer for Cristina.

Got Talent’s beacon of hope, Susan Boyle, finally got her Golden Buzzer courtesy of Mel B on the inaugural season of America’s Got Talent: The Champions. (Video property of Fremantle & NBC)

#2-Susan Boyle (Singer; America’s Got Talent: The Champions-Season One Finalist; Mel B)

Susan Boyle is one performer that is synonymous with the Got Talent franchise. Millions of people worldwide saw her sing in 2009 on Britain’s Got Talent: Series Three. While she did not win the show, Susan Boyle became a worldwide phenomenon. She competed on the first AGT Champions and delivered a robust cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” that gave audiences chills. She also earned Mel B’s final Golden Buzzer for her efforts.  

V.Unbeatable’s second Golden Buzzer performance lead them to win America’s Got Talent: The Champions’ sophomore season. (Video property of Fremantle & NBC)

#1-V.Unbeatable (Acrobatic Dance Crew; America’s Got Talent: Season 14 Fourth Place Finalists – Dwayne Wade & America’s Got Talent: The Champions: Season Two WINNERS – Howie Mandel) 

V.Unbeatable became the only act in show history to earn two BACK-to-BACK Golden Buzzers in consecutive seasons. Both Golden Buzzer performances lead to several of their respective seasons’ top moments. As of publication, both their Golden Buzzer performances on AGT and Got Talent Global’s YouTube channels earned over 69 million views. 

What were your favorite Golden Buzzer moments from AGT history?


  1. Join Angel City Chorale in our virtual extravaganza concert Play it Forward” on June 5th. Tickets are free or donation at http://www.angelcitychorale.organic

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar