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Why Heidi Klum Said Summer Rios Sounds Like She “Swallowed Rihanna”

Summer Rios, a Pizza Hut manager from Ohio, had a "beautiful, beautiful tone" when singing Zach Bryan's "Something in the Orange."

By Jax Miller

It’s a season of surprises on America’s Got Talent, with one pizza-cutting teenager well on the road to becoming a singing sensation. Already backed by a large social media following, Summer Rios can add millions more views to her résumé after taking the AGT stage with her “spectacular” audition.

Who is Summer Rios?

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Watch America’s Got Talent Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

Nineteen-year-old Summer Rios hails from Brunswick, Ohio, a Pizza Hut Manager with dreams of paying her bills and leaving her pizza cutter behind.

“This is the ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ moment,” the singer said backstage while speaking to her mother virtually over the phone.

The nervous and smiling teen told Judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara, and Heidi Klum that she’d been singing since age 4, though she had yet to sing for an audience as big as AGT. Rios hoped to put herself out there more “and not have so much anxiety.”

RELATED: This Is Why Simon Cowell May Be Quieter Than Usual During AGT 18 Auditions

Rios mentioned once working with her ex-boyfriend at the local Pizza Hut, admitting she hoped he wasn’t watching the audition. When asked by Cowell what she might say to the ex, Rios said, “Hello? I hope you’re doing good, I guess? No, not really,” much to the Judges’ amusement.

Summer Rios performs on the America's Got Talent stage.

“Now it’s just me, so I’m working a lot of morning-to-closes, trying to still pay my bills and stuff,” the singer continued. “I’m hoping this will get me out of pizza cutting and pizza making.”

Rios has already amassed hundreds of thousands of followers between her Instagram and TikTok profiles. Some of her content — including her cover of Lewis Capaldi’s “Hold Me While You Wait” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” — garnered millions of views over the past few years. Her rendition of Bishop Briggs’ “River” also went viral.

In July 2022, Rios told The Hype Magazine that she grew up in talent shows and local singing competitions, persuaded by her friends in middle school to create a social media account devoted to her talent.

“Music is a very serious thing to me. I’ve grown up singing, writing, and playing instruments my entire life, so it has always been in my environment,” Rios told the outlet. “It hits a certain part of my heart and makes me feel in a comfort state of mind when writing or singing.”

She cites musician Machine Gun Kelly as one of her influences.

What song did Summer Rios sing on AGT?

Summer Rios performs on the Americas Got Talent stage

For her AGT audition, Rios sang Zach Bryan’s 2022 hit “Something in the Orange” (a familiar hit for Yellowstone fans). The Grammy Award-nominated single went four-time platinum and peaked at number one on the Billboard charts, including Hot Country Songs and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.

Cowell called it “a great, great choice of song” for Rios’ audition, helping the teen get four yes votes.

Mandel added he’d much rather see Rios pursue singing over slicing pizza.

“I feel like we just got a peek at what you can do,” said Mandel. “And you needed to open this door a crack, and you’ve opened it more than a crack to just take off.”

 Klum told the Ohio teen she “loved it,” noting the “beautiful, beautiful tone” of her voice.

“To me, you sounded a little bit like you swallowed Rihanna,” Klum continued. Vergara echoed Klum’s critique by calling the contestant’s voice “spectacular.”

“You belong on the stage; don’t waste more time,” said Vergara. “Live your best life; don’t be scared anymore.”

Rios flashed a heart sign with her hands to the Judges before running backstage, screaming and jumping with joy. Before calling her mother to announce her success, she told AGT Host Terry Crews, “I’m so done with cutting pizzas.”

Watch as the competition continues on America’s Got Talent, airing Tuesdays at 8/7 on NBC and the next day on Peacock.