Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!
See Every Time Heidi Klum Hit the Golden Buzzers on America's Got Talent
Take a look at the Golden Buzzer moments that occurred when AGT Judge Heidi Klum decided to send Acts closer to the finish line.
The coveted Golden Buzzer is a dream for any Act on America’s Got Talent; the chance to skip the audition process and head straight into the AGT Live Shows. Since Season 9, Judges get just one chance to use it on a talented Act of their choosing, ultimately sending them forward without the danger of elimination.
Gold confetti rains down, contestants cheer in slow motion, and audiences jump to their feet, a spectacle among spectacles each season.
Returning for Season 18, Judge Heidi Klum — along with Judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, AND Howie Mandel, and Host Terry Crews — will have another chance to hit the Golden Buzzer with a new batch of fresh talent coming through. Judges also get the opportunity to use their one-off Group Golden Buzzer — introduced in Season 16 — which is pressed by all the Judges and the Host for a performance that especially rises to the top.
Though you can catch up on America’s Got Talent on NBC and Peacock, here is a complete guide to see which Acts over the years were good enough to earn Klum’s blessing, beginning with her first televised Golden Buzzer hit in Season 10.
Season 10: Arielle Baril
Eleven-year-old Pennsylvania girl Arielle Baril stunned the Judges in Season 10 when singing a chill-forming rendition of the classic soprano opera song “O Mio Babbino Caro.” Inspired by her older brother, Baril teared with emotions after her “mature” performance, which brought Klum to her feet. Baril grew even more emotional when Klum said she “really, really loved” her singing and sent her straight to Radio City Music Hall.
Klum even joined Baril onstage, saying, “You made my hair stand up; I think you’re incredible.”
Baril made it to the semi-finals, though ventriloquist Paul Zerdin — for whom Guest Judge Marlon Wayans pressed his Golden Buzzer earlier in the season — made it to number one.
Season 11: Sal Valentinetti
In 2016, the same season when Hosts were also allowed access to the Golden Buzzer, Long-Island-based singer Sal Valentinetti, 20, came with his “crazy” Italian-American family in style. The wise-cracking Valentinetti, who spent his days delivering pizza for his cousin’s business, wowed audiences with his surprising version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
Judges and audiences alike shot to their feet before the song finished, with the larger-than-life singer meeting the Judges at the panel before Klum hit the Golden Buzzer.
Valentinetti told former Host Nick Cannon, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”
Valentinetti crooned his way to the grand finals but ultimately came in fifth place, with child singer Grace VanderWaal — who’d earned Judge Mandel’s Golden Buzzer — winning the season.
Season 12: Angelina Green
Miami vocalist Angelina Green, 13, told the Judges she used singing to get through her parents’ divorce. With her mother, whom Green described as her “best friend,” watching just offstage, Green gave an emotional rendition of The Pretenders’ 1994 ballad, “I’ll Stand By You.”
“I really, really love what you just did,” Klum told the tearful teen. “To me, you feel like there’s an old soul inside of that little 13-year-old body … I loved it so much that I’m gonna hit the Golden Buzzer.”
Green was eliminated during the show’s quarter-finals. Oklahoma-based ventriloquist and singer Darci Lynne would eventually take the win.
Season 13: Makayla Phillips
Another of Klum’s singing teens was 15-year-old Makayla Phillips, who rose to the semi-finals after singing Demi Lovato’s “Warrior.” Klum said she was the “whole package,” not just because of her singing ability but for her smile and projection.
“Your voice is incredible,” Klum said just before slamming on the Golden Buzzer.
Klum then rushed to the stage, yelling, “I think I just found the winner.”
However, magician Shin Lim would go on to win Season 13, with Phillips being eliminated after the semi-finals.
Season 15: Cristina Rae
Klum, who was not featured as a Judge on Season 14, returned for Season 15, ensuring singer Cristina Rae made safe passage to the quarter-finals. For Rae’s 2020 audition, the Judges weren’t completely blown away by her cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” but Rae stunned with The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” upon Cowell’s request to hear her second song.
Klum said her heart was racing with Rae’s performance, earning the singer the coveted Golden Buzzer.
Rae would win third place overall, with California poet Brandon Leake coming in the lead episodes after getting the Golden Buzzer from Mandel.
Season 16: Léa Kyle
Quick-change French performer Léa Kyle said, “It means everything” to be on America’s Got Talent, pardoning her broken English. Showing up with props, Kyle seemed to defy the laws of physics when switching from outfit to outfit at jaw-dropping speed, prompting a standing ovation.
Klum called the “absolutely beautiful and flawless” act “pure magic,” asking how the contestant would feel going to the Live Shows before the rain of gold confetti fell for Klum’s first non-singing Golden Buzzer.
The magician climbed her way into the season’s top five, losing to Virginia Beach magician Dustin Tavella, who hadn’t previously earned the Golden Buzzer.
Child opera singer Victory Brinker, 9, won the show’s first-ever Group Golden Buzzer that same season, obtaining the yays of all four Judges and Host Crews after singing a glass-shattering version of “Je Veux Vivre.”
Season 17: Lily Meola
Though later eliminated as a contestant, Hawaii singer Lily Meola, 27, earned Judge Klum’s Golden Buzzer hit after singing “Daydream,” an original piece Meola wrote during a “beautiful” time in her life. Meola told the Judges the song garnered a record deal but that Meola had to forfeit her potential success to care for her ailing mother, who was diagnosed with cancer.
“Daydream” brought Klum to tears, leaving her “speechless” before she gave Meola the Golden Buzzer treatment. Klum told the singer, “Everything about you, you just light up.”
Also in Season 17, Klum and her fellow Judges — plus Host Crews — came together to press the Group Golden Buzzer for Chapel Hart, the singing female trio who earned the honor by singing their own original piece, “You Can Have Him, Jolene.”
In the end, the all-girl Lebanese dance group Mayyas won the competition.
America’s Got Talent returns with Season 18 later this year, with past episodes available on Peacock.