A look at this season's America's Got Talent 'Golden Buzzer' acts

Just 3 years ago, Angelica was on life support. Now, with a new kidney, she's doing what she loves most - singing.

A judge dramatically presses a button, a contestant cries onstage, shiny confetti pours from the ceiling, and the audience cheers. This feel-good moment — the "Golden Buzzer" — has become a staple of America's Got Talent.

Clearly, viewers like the gimmick. In its 12th season, NBC's competition series is once again the most popular show on TV this summer, with record ratings — averaging a series-high 16 million viewers — and tens of millions of online views of performance clips.

And, of course, contestants love the Golden Buzzer. When an AGT judge hits the button, an act is sent straight through to the live shows (which begin Tuesday, 8 ET/PT), skipping a judge vote and more rounds of competition. Last year, winner Grace VanderWaal took the crown after being buzzed through. This year, nine acts (out of 36 remaining) have a leg up going into the live shows.

Let's review the singers, dancers and ventriloquist who've stood below the golden confetti.

DARCI LYNNE FARMER

What's the act?

Farmer, 12, is a ventriloquist. Not only does she make her Petunia puppet talk, but she also has her sing. 

"I'd really like to keep ventriloquism alive, because it's not common," she told the judges.

Who hit the buzzer?

Judge Mel B., who called Farmer "charming," "adorable" and "brilliant." 

MANDY HARVEY

What's the act?

Harvey, 29, who's been deaf since she was 18, performed an original song about not wanting to give up on life.

"I left music after I lost my hearing, then figured out how to get back into singing with muscle memory using visual tuners and trusting my pitch," she said.

Who hit the buzzer?

A verklempt Simon Cowell buzzed her through, saying, "I've done this a long time. That's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and heard."

CHRISTIAN GUARDINO

What's the act?

Guardino, 17, has "been singing for as long as I can remember," he said. He performed The Jackson 5's Who's Lovin' You and had jaws dropping with his opening run.

Who hit the buzzer?

"That was amazing," said judge Howie Mandell, who granted Guardino's wish and hit the Golden Buzzer.

LIGHT BALANCE

What's the act?

The Ukrainian dance group performs in pitch darkness wearing outfits lined in choreography-synced LED lights. The result? Disappearing men who transform into a car, move in slow-motion and light up the stage with electronic moves.

Who hit the buzzer?

An excited Tyra Banks went to the judges table to hit the button. "Stop right now," she said. "I'm feeling you guys so, so much."

ANGELINA GREEN

What's the act?

Green sang I'll Stand by You by The Pretenders. "I've been singing since forever, but I took it seriously when my parents got divorced," the unimposing 13 year old said.

Who hit the buzzer?

Heidi Klum, who told Green that it feels like "there is an old soul inside of that 13-year-old body, and I really, really loved it."

ANGELICA HALE

What's the act?

In her second performance, the nervous, pint-size Hale, 10, delivered a powerhouse vocal on Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys.

Who hit the buzzer?

Guest judge Chris Hardwick buzzed her through, yelling, "Angelica, you are the chosen one!"

CHASE GOEHRING

What's the act?

In the judge cuts round, Goehring, 21, performed an original song that showcased his guitar skills, clever rhymes and fast-spitting singing style.

Who hit the buzzer?

Guest judge DJ Khaled announced, "You're on your way to be a star. This show and this stage is going to make you into a superstar," before hitting the buzzer.  "We gotta work together," Khaled told the singer/songwriter.

CELINE TAM

What's the act?

Tam, named after Céline Dion, made it through to auditions with My Heart Will Go On. The 9-year-old's second performance was How Am I Supposed To Live Without You by Michael Bolton, which ended with a powerful, sustained note.

Who hit the buzzer?

"I just want to eat you up and take you home," said guest judge Laverne Cox. "You were so adorable and so cute and your voice is amazing," she said.

JOHNNY MANUEL

What's the act?

Manuel, 32, sang Whitney Houston in his first round, then Stevie Wonder in the judge cuts.  The performer said he was signed to a music label at 14, but that didn't work out.

Who hit the buzzer?

Guest judge Seal sent Manuel to the live shows because he was impressed by the way he performed a cappella at Cowell's request. "I was always taught that you have to be ready at every situation (because) you never know when opportunity is going to knock on your door," said Seal, before making the golden confetti fall.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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