Fans of AMERICA’S Got Talent criticized Howie Mandel for using his only Golden Buzzer on a choir because of a “sob story” and not their “singing ability.”
During the NBC competition season premiere tonight, viewers were shocked that the 65-year-old comedian put The Northwell Health Nurse Choir ahead of the other acts.
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As the group went out in the brush, they discussed their difficult year going through “a really dark and trying time” of the pandemic.
The choir then sang a superb rendition of a medley that included Lean on Me and Ben E. King’s classic Stand by Me.
As they sang, the group moved in choreographed movements and even added a rap verse in the middle to pick up the pace.
Group leader Christian Montanez, RN at North Shore University Hospital, discussed the pain of the Covid pandemic with Judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum.
“In March 2020, when New York City was the epicenter of COVID, we were so scared.
“One patient became 10, 100, 1,000. No one knew how many people COVID would kill,” he confessed.
Another member, Danielle Filippone, who is a nurse at Staten Island Teaching Hospital, said “the hardest part has been seeing these patients alone.”
She added that they “couldn’t have their families with them, so we stepped in as their family.”
Due to difficult times, the Northwell Nurse Choir was formed in November 2020 to serve as a “beacon of hope” for the community.
Simon – who made his comeback at Tuesday’s premiere – said their performance was “touching”.
However, Howie had the strongest reaction as he called it the “perfect” hearing.
“You are by the side of people you don’t know, you look at the horror and you look at the strength and I thought… I want to stand up for you,” he said as he stood up from his chair.
The Deal Or No Deal alum then hit the Golden Buzzer – which each judge is only allowed to do once per season.
Any act that has received the coveted award will automatically advance to the semi-finals of the live show – skipping the next round of the competition.
As golden confetti fell onto the stage, the dozens of singers began to celebrate with shocked facial expressions.
However, fans accused Howie of only sending the group out because of their touching history rather than actual talent.
One person said: “Nurses in general are amazing and the Northwell choir is talented, but they have more of their golden buzzer for the story than their skills (as is the case with most golden buzzer acts). “
“America has stories of sobbing,” joked a second on Twitter.
A third wrote: “I’m tired of these golden buzzer sobbing stories.”
“Raally ?? The golden buzzer for a choir ?? REALLY?!?” Someone questioned next to a confused gif.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.