Talent Recap

Why Do Choir Groups Always Receive a Golden Buzzer on ‘AGT’?

Northwell Nurses ChoirTyler Golden/NBC

Reading Time: 3 minutes

No matter where America’s Got Talent auditions take place, choirs always find their way on to the show. These singing groups come together as one collective voice to create something really special. Although they’ve always been around, they’ve become more popular in the past few seasons. What has created this popularity?

This season, Northwell Health Nurse Choir was Howie Mandel‘s Golden Buzzer. Each member of this choir is a frontline nurse, when not performing. In their AGT audition, they mentioned that they aren’t singers, instead they’re healthcare workers.

It didn’t really surprise me that Mandel decided to give them his Golden Buzzer this season. Last season, and parts of this one, he has spoken on the fact that the Covid-19 lock down orders made the competition more difficult. It’s hard for any act (especially comedians) to perform without a live audience.

Now, I’m a firm believer in overlooking a sob story and only taking talent into consideration, but with a story like theirs, I think anyone would be inspired enough to press the buzzer considering what the world has been through.

The History of the Golden Buzzer and Choir Groups


Choir groups are absolutely huge on America’s Got Talent. This show is really the only platform that gives larger groups such as Northwell Health Nurse Choir a place to be seen. Since The X Factor ended in 2013, there are no other national television shows that choirs can audition for at the moment.

A year after The X Factor ended, America’s Got Talent added something new into the competition. In season nine, they implemented the Golden Buzzer. In the first few years of the Golden Buzzer, choirs were not selected. It wasn’t until season 13 that a choir received the Buzzer for the first time.

Guest AGT judge, Ken Jeong from The Masked Singer, was actually the first person ever to give a golden buzzer to a choir. Voices of Hope Choir won him over during the (now discontinued) judge cuts portion of the competition.

Even though the group did not win the AGT competition as a whole, they still are a pretty big deal. They paved the way for other choir groups to get this honor as well.

Choir Groups Have Loads Of Hope And Inspiration

After season 13, Terry Crews became known for giving his Golden Buzzer to choirs. In seasons 14 and 15 Crews gave his golden buzzers to Detroit Youth Choir and Voices of Our City Choir respectively. Not only were these groups amazing, they also both had unique stories.

Detroit Youth Choir is a group that strives to teach students through music education, dance, and theatrical arts. This group’s performance touched Crews so much that he actually started crying on stage.

“Every young man and woman on this stage.. Represents me… And where I came from,” said Crews.


He compared their passion to his own experiences growing up in Flint, Michigan and was sure to give the group credit for competing.

Then, in season 15 Crews gave his Golden Buzzer to Voices of Our City Choir, which is comprised of people experiencing homelessness around San Diego, California. Crews was so moved by the performance that he decided to give them his Golden Buzzer.

Why Do They Get Golden Buzzers So Often?

Crews gave both Detroit Youth Choir and Voices of Our City Choir hope by giving them the Buzzer during their seasons. With stories like both of these groups the Golden Buzzer was a small thing that could make every member feel like they’re going to be something.

A lot of choirs come into the America’s Got Talent auditions with a story of adversity and end up with a new found hope all because of the Golden Buzzer. Taking backstory out of the picture, each of these Golden Buzzer groups have overcome adversity, and have found a way to enjoy every day though music. In the thick of it, the Golden Buzzer is just a tiny thing any judge can do to say “We see the effort you’ve put into this and we believe in you.”

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