When they auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” on June 19, Voices of Hope Children’s Choir were not able to convince Howie Mandel to give them a yes vote. They had wowed the crowd and the other three judges (Simon Cowell, Mel B and Heidi Klum) with their performance of the power anthem “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”
This time around, they upped their game and their choir director promised they were “more tight and solid on the vocals.” And indeed they were. In the video above, watch this group of 70 kids from Orange County wow with their harmonies on “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” the Oscar-nominated song by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”).
The audience roared their approval and the judges were equally enthusiastic. Mel readily admitted that she was overcome with emotion while Heidi applauded the trio of lead vocalists. Simon commended them for working so hard to improve and Howie added his compliments. Then guest judge Ken Jeong punctuated his praise by pressing the Golden Buzzer, sending them straight through to the live shows in August.
In his “AGT” recap, our live-blogger John Benutty observed, “The song started with a series of three female solos before erupting into a full-choir harmony at the first chorus. Full disclosure, the song is one of my favorite Disney songs and at the peak of their performance I literally had chills! Mel felt the performance strongly too because she got emotional, as did Ken who after Heidi and Simon sent in their support hit his golden buzzer and sent the choir straight through to the live shows! You could tell during the performance that he might do it because he seemed utterly speechless.”