America’s Got Talent saved its best audition for last on Tuesday with a Golden Buzzer recipient who managed to accomplish the impossible — forcing Simon Cowell to display genuine emotion.
The two-hour broadcast ended with the introduction of Jane, 30, who performs under the stage name Nightbirde. The Ohio native revealed that she’s currently battling cancer in her lung, spine and liver, telling the judges, “I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me.”
With full command over the packed auditorium, Nightbirde treated viewers to a beautiful performance of “It’s OK,” an original song about her recent struggles. As she also explained, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
Visibly moved by Nightbirde’s performance, Cowell told her, “Your voice is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And I agree with what Howie [Mandel] said about authenticity. There was something about that song, the way you almost casually told us what you’re going through. There have been some great singers this year. … I’m not going to give you a yes. I’m going to give you something else.”
Cowell then proceeded to slam his hand on the Golden Buzzer, giving Nightbirde an instant ticket to the live shows.
Other acts moving forward from the second week of auditions include…
* Beyond Belief Dance, a troupe of young Texas-based performers led by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alyssa Edwards, who performed an impressive routine set to (the clean version of) Todrick Hall’s “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels.” (Speaking of which, that was definitely my first time hearing the safe-for-broadcast version of that song. “Patty, pat, pat, chew the gum, gum, gum?” I simply cannot.) Click here to watch.
* UniCircle Flow, a small group of Japanese performers who combined fashion and fitness in a really impressive, tightly choreographed display of unicycling. Click here to watch.
* Korean Soul, an aspiring K-Pop quartet that charmed the judges with a harmonious performance of K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life.” Watch:
* British escape artist Matt Johnson, whose unanimous trip to the next round nearly got him cut in half by an enormous pair of saws. Click here to watch.
* Patrick Kun, a magician who blew the judges’ mind with a curious card trick. Click here to watch.
* Johnny Showcase, a comedic musician who had the judges laughing and grooving along to his jam about remaining faithful… against all odds. Click here to watch.
* The Curtis Family C-Notes, a family band from San Francisco who funked the heck out of Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her.” Click here to watch.
* French-Canadian circus duo Les Beaux Freres, who delighted the judges with a cheeky towel act in nothing but their birthday suits. Click here to watch.
* And Gina Brillon, a new mom who kept the judges laughing with a set partially based on her experience growing up as a twin. Click here to watch.
Which audition(s) from Week 2 stuck with you? Vote for your favorites below, then drop a comment with your thoughts on the episode.