AGT: Fantasy League Choir Almost Didn't Get Special Permission For 'Purple Rain,' And I Can't Stop Watching Their Golden Buzzer Performance

 Sainted performing "Purple Rain" in AGT: Fantasy League.
Sainted performing "Purple Rain" in AGT: Fantasy League.
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Spoilers ahead for the final episode of AGT: Fantasy League qualifiers on January 22.

AGT: Fantasy League was down to its final round of competitors hoping to reach the semifinals in the 2024 TV schedule on January 22, and one group from Simon Cowell's team had a plan to honor one of the best-known songs from a music legend. Sainted Trap Choir intended to perform their take on Prince's iconic "Purple Rain," but there was a problem: "Purple Rain" never clears for AGT. Cowell was determined to get the song for the choir, and I'm so glad that it worked, because I cannot stop rewatching the finished product. It's no wonder that they won Cowell's golden buzzer!

The video package ahead of Sainted's performance revealed that the choir didn't know even a full day ahead of their turn on the Fantasy League stage if they'd get the clearance for "Purple Rain," and Howie Mandel later explained to the audience that Simon Cowell was up until midnight working to clear the song, while Sainted faced the possibility of performing a backup. Considering that the song was Cowell's pick and he was determined that they'd get to perform it, it would have been an AGT tragedy if they didn't get the rights.

Cowell confirmed that "Purple Rain" is his favorite song of all time, and he shared that he believes Prince – who passed away in 2016 before more details emerged in 2018 – is "the greatest artist of all time." It was enough to motivate him to hit the golden buzzer, and to motivate me to go back and watch the performance more than once. Take a look, if you missed it – or, like me, just need to see it again:

It was a bold move for Simon Cowell to pitch "Purple Rain" to the group, as an AGT producer in the video noted that the song "never, never, never" clears. Even Sainted didn't know whether to expect that they'd perform the Prince tribute or their backup until pretty late, before getting the very good news that Prince's estate was "gracious enough to make an exception" and give permission to perform "Purple Rain." Since 2024 will mark the 40th anniversary of Prince's Purple Rain film and song, the timing couldn't be better for a tribute.

Based on the reactions from the entire panel of judges and the applause from the audience, I'm guessing that Sainted would have been advanced to the semi-finals even without the golden buzzer from Simon Cowell. Mel B (who replaced AGT's Sofia Vergara for Fantasy League) loved them so much that she jokingly declared that she really doesn't like Cowell for being so right about the choir. The four judges were certainly more united for Sainted than they were for Drake Milligan just a couple of weeks earlier!

AGT: Fantasy League isn't over yet, so be sure to keep tuning in to NBC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes. The semi-finals start next week with Sainted still in the running for the top prize, so you won't want to miss a moment for the first season of the newest AGT spinoff.

Also advancing after the final round of qualifiers are aerialist Aidan Bryant, dance group Ghetto Kids, magician Anna DeGuzman, ventriloquist singer Darci Lynne, and dancer Musa Motha. If you've already missed some of Fantasy League, you can catch up streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription.