Talent Recap

What is the Golden Buzzer on ‘AGT,’ and Why Does Everyone Want It?

AGT Golden BuzzerTrae Patton/NBC

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One of the most iconic things about America’s Got Talent and other Got Talent shows around the world is the Golden Buzzer. Contestants dream of receiving this honor, and the show typically saves the Golden Buzzer auditions for last in each episode.

If you’re not a die-hard Got Talent fan, you might be wondering what exactly is the Golden Buzzer, and what it means for a contestant’s future on the show. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know.

What is the Golden Buzzer on ‘AGT’?

Usually, getting a buzzer on America’s Got Talent isn’t a good thing. Each judge has a red one in front of them on the desk, and if they push it, it means they want an act to end. Four red buzzers, and a contestant has to stop performing.

The Golden Buzzer, on the other hand, is a very good thing to get. It was first introduced to the show in Season 9, to send a contestant straight to the next round without the other judges weighing in. However, in Season 10, it became a way to send contestants straight to the live shows without competing in the Judge Cuts round.

Each judge on the panel gets one chance to hit the Golden Buzzer each season, so they tend to pick the artist very carefully. The show typically plays up the emotion and excitement of the moment, as gold confetti rains down on stage. The judge who hit it usually steps up to give the contestant a congratulatory hug.



Who Else Can Hit the Buzzer?

In Season 11, the rules were updated so that the show’s host can also hit the Golden Buzzer for an act they love. That means that each season has five Golden Buzzer acts during the audition round. But contestants can also receive the honor during the Judge Cuts round.

This round features acts who made it through the audition round. During each episode, a celebrity guest judge usually joins the panel. They also have the chance to hit the Golden Buzzer for an act they enjoy. This will send the act straight into the live shows without deliberation from the regular judges.

Because Season 15 didn’t feature any guest judges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were only five Golden Buzzers during the course of the competition.

Most of the show’s winners since Season 10 received the Golden Buzzer. That includes Paul Zerdin, Grace VanderWaal, and last season’s champion Brandon Leake. However, one exception is Season 13 winner Shin Lim. So while getting the Golden Buzzer is a good sign for a contestant’s chances, they can still win the show without it.

Based on previews, this season it’s expected that a group Golden Buzzer will be introduced. The show has yet to confirm suspicions, so we’ll have to wait and see!

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