What Makes an ‘America’s Got Talent’ Act Golden Buzzer Worthy?

Corey Cesare
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Victory Brinker Earns The First Ever Group Golden BuzzerPhoto by: Trae Patton/NBC

Ever since the Golden Buzzer was first introduced in the world of America’s Got Talent, there’s been a heavy debate on what makes an act worthy of its honor. While I’m sure there are plenty of ways to justify it, here are the most common ways it normally plays out.


Although each season of America’s Got Talent is different, there’s a clear pattern of Golden Buzzer recipients. Here’s the types of acts the judges and host typically give the Golden Buzzer to.

1. Someone Who Has Gone Through a Hard Time

This is the most common reason the Golden Buzzer is hit. The judges love to use the Golden Buzzer as a way to uplift contestants. Plenty of AGT fans say they hate the amount of sob stories on the series, yet judges continued to give this honor to these types of contestants. I agree that sometimes sob stories can be overused, but most of the time these people have gone through the unimaginable and deserve this type of treatment.

2. Big Groups

Typically, one group is given the Golden Buzzer each season. These groups normally have something to stand for (or a story) that moves the judges. While some say that groups are given this honor purely because of their story, I beg to differ. Golden Buzzer recipient have tirelessly trained to get to the point they’re at in modern day. It’s never about where they came from, it’s about the art they’ve created.


3. Children

It’s no secret that the judges love to give the Golden Buzzer to talented children. While plenty of children take the stage, only certain acts are good enough to receive this honor. While it may seem like children is a pretty general category, most of the time the Golden Buzzer is given because their talent is beyond their age.

4. Never Before Seen Acts

The judges are always impressed when someone comes to the stage with a never seen before act. We’ve seen this narrative multiple times in the past seasons with acts like Brandon Leake and Léa Kyle. While many would argue that this is should be the sole reason the buzzer exists, judges never know what to expect in a new season.

5. Impressive Voices, Shocking Talents

This act always impresses the judges to the highest extent. Most of the time, judges are impressed by shocking voices and unique, polished variety acts. These contestants have trained for this moment and it really shows. No matter what, these contestants are always stars on the stage, whether they make it into the finale or not.


America’s Got Talent airs on Tuesdays on NBC from 8 to 10 p.m beginning May 31.

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