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The Reason Simon Cowell Stopped an Emotional Dani Kerr in the Middle of Her Audition

America’s Got Talent Judge Howie Mandel compared Dani Kerr’s ‘beautiful’ voice to Stevie Nicks.

By Jill Sederstrom

Dani Kerr’s nerves got the better of her during her America’s Got Talent audition, but Judge Simon Cowell gave her a second chance to impress the panel with her “beautiful,” raspy voice that earned a high honor from Cowell himself. 

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Cowell declared the Statesville, North Carolina native’s voice as one of his “favorite voices this year.” 

“I love your songs. I think you’re a great writer,” he told her after she hit the final note in her second original song. “Authentic, and importantly, your voice is so distinctive and not only distinctive, you have a beautiful voice.”

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He wasn’t the only one blown away by the 23-year-old’s singing abilities. Kerr had Judge Howie Mandel conjuring up images of a rock icon.

““You’re amazing,” he told her. “You remind me of like a Stevie Nicks.”

Judge Heidi Klum said that she was also getting a Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus vibe from the singer/songwriter.

“I love all of them,” an emotional Kerr said of drawing the celebrity comparisons.

All four Judges on the talent competition gave Kerr a coveted “yes” vote, sending her on to the next round of competition. 

Why Dani Kerr Had to Restart AGT Audition

Dani Kerr playing guitar and singing on America's Got Talent.

While the audition clearly ended on a high note, it got off to a bit of a rocky start. 

Kerr has loved music ever since she was a child, but admitted it took her some time to get over her nerves and be willing to give performing a shot. 

“I didn’t get the courage to do it until I was 17, so about six years ago,” she told the Judges after taking the stage. 

Cowell asked Kerr for her take on the music business today for people like herself who maybe didn’t fit into the traditional pop star mold. 

 “I feel like a lot of people have gotten away from being real humans in music and I’m just here to do that and let people know that we’re still human, we’re still us, you know, it’s not all robots doing it,” she said. 

“And you’re real, which is great,” Cowell said, before adding “OK, so are you ready for this?” 

“We hope,” Kerr replied. 

Her wavering confidence gave Cowell pause and the veteran Judge asked her to explain where the nerves were coming from.

“When I was a little kid I never thought that I would even have the courage to sing in front of one person and it’s just — it’s so crazy to be here, it’s a dream come true,” she replied as she held her guitar. 

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Cowell gave her some last-minute encouragement before the Act began.

“Look, we’re all really rooting for you. We’re all wishing you the best of luck and we’re really looking forward to hearing you,” he said.

Armed with the encouraging words, Kerr launched into the opening lines of an original song she’d written herself. But after just a few lines, Cowell put his hand up to signal her to stop.

As Kerr started to cry, Cowell explained that he only wanted to give her another opportunity to shake off the nerves and deliver her best performance. 

“I think you were really nervous and I could tell how important this is to you, let’s try that again,” he said. “Um, did you bring another song with you?” 

An emotional Kerr confirmed that she did, in fact, have another song up her sleeve.

“OK, great. Can I hear your second song as well please?” Cowell asked. 

Kerr was only too happy to oblige and began to sing another original song she’d written called “November.” 

By the time she sang her final note, the crowd was on their feet and Kerr broke down into tears. 

“You sound amazing, you feel so, like, real, like you said,” Judge Sofia Vergara commended her.

With a rousing endorsement from all four Judges, Kerr still couldn’t believe she'd conquered her fear.

 “I just feel like I’m in the clouds. I don’t even feel like I’m on the ground. It’s unbelievable,” she told Host Terry Crews backstage.