And just like that, soul singer Cristina Rae became the next person to earn the coveted Golden Buzzer on “America’s Got Talent” Season 15. (See the list of all Golden Buzzers through the years.) Cristina, whose son Jeremiah accompanied her from Nashville, Tennessee, was anointed by Heidi Klum, the popular judge who returned to NBC’s reality TV show after taking off last season. Watch the tear-jerking Golden Buzzer video above.
Before the golden confetti showered down from the ceiling, Cristina had a rather tumultuous audition thanks to none other than Simon Cowell. The British judge didn’t seem to fall in love with her original song choice, “In the Air Tonight,” so he made a shocking request: sing something else! Luckily, Cristina had “Gimme Shelter” at the ready as her “encore” performance. With the help of her “adrenaline,” that’s when she truly blew the roof off the theater.
“I need this to change my life,” Cristina said about why she decided to sign up for “AGT.” She continued, “As you can see, I’m a single mom and I was living in my vehicle while pregnant. This will change my life by putting us in a home — my own home — not just in family situations. I want him to have his own room. I want us to live in our own home, not a house.”
Hearing Cristina’s emotional story, Howie Mandel, the show’s longest-running judge, told her, “I want you to think of this building right now and that stage as your house. And we are your family. Isn’t this great? Entertain us.”
Following Cristina’s performance of “In the Air Tonight,” Heidi took a deep breath and stared lovingly across the stage. “I think you are absolutely out of this world,” she proclaimed. “My heart is racing for you right now, it really is. Are you ready for this right now?” Heidi then stood up and pointed at the Golden Buzzer. “Because I’m ready to push this button for you. Are you ready for this?!” Jumping up and down, she slammed her hand down on the button, changing Cristina’s life forever.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the audition: “The miracle of Cristina Rae persevering through the pregnancy of her adorable son was a shock to the judges when they heard the story, and yet when they heard her voice they knew there was something special there. Simon wasn’t pleased with her first song, ‘In the Air Tonight,’ and so he asked her to sing her second song as well. Instead of taking a second to collect herself she declared that she wanted ‘this adrenaline to take me.’ And she did just that–her version of ‘Gimme Shelter’ by The Rolling Stones set the place ablaze with cheers. With Simon, Howie and Sofia all saying ‘yes,’ Cristina was already through to the next round, but that wasn’t enough for Heidi who decided that now was the time to hit her golden buzzer and send her all the way to the live shows!”