'AGT': Simon Cowell breaks show's rules so 9-year-old opera singer could make history

·3 min read

If you thought you'd seen the last of the Golden Buzzer on "America's Got Talent" this season, think again.

Though each judge typically gets one chance to smash the coveted buzzer and send an act straight to the live shows, 9-year-old singer Victory Brinker delivered a performance during Tuesday's episode that warranted a rule change.

Though Brinker admitted feeling "exnervous" (excited plus nervous), the young contestant, hailing from Pennsylvania, was all smiles as she strutted onto the "AGT" stage. When judge Simon Cowell asked what she would do with the $1 million grand prize, Brinker offered a simple answer: buy Cowell "a rainbow shirt that has glitter on it."

"You need some color," she told the judge, noting his somber, monochromatic wardrobe.

When it was time for her to perform, Brinker broke into a soaring opera number, stunning the judges with her controlled voice and impressive range.

Victory Brinker performs on "America's Got Talent."
Victory Brinker performs on "America's Got Talent."

And it wasn't just judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara and Cowell who seemed impressed with Brinker. After her performance, a bird that had been flying around the studio glided down to the stage and landed on a box next to the contestant in true Disney-princess fashion.

"That is pretty incredible," Klum said. "That is a sign."

Mandel called Brinker's voice "angelic," while Vergara noted the contestant is "a star." But Cowell was coy with his feedback, commending Brinker for going through with her audition before asking to speak with host Terry Crews privately.

Cowell, Crews and the rest of the judges turned away for a brief huddle. Among their hushed voices, Cowell whispered, "How would you feel if we were to do something different?"

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After a tense pause that seemed to drag on for centuries, the judges turned back to Brinker with surprising news.

"Victory, as I said, turning up, in terms of your career, is really important; however, we're not going to give you a yes today," Cowell said, to massive uproar from the audience.

"We're going to do something else we've never, ever, ever done on the show before," he continued. "We are all going to give you something special."

On the count of five, all four judges, plus Crews, hit the coveted Golden Buzzer at once, sending Brinker straight to the live-show round. This is the first time all four judges and Crews have unanimously used the Golden Buzzer on a contestant.

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This season's other Golden Buzzer acts include Northwell Health Nurse Choir (Mandel); singer Nightbirde (Cowell); World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Crews); singer Jimmie Herrod (Vergara) and quick-change artist Lea Kyle (Klum).

Contestants from Tuesday's episode who wowed the judges and made it through to the next round include mother-daughter archery stunt duo Gigi Deluxe & Devon, stand-up comedian Cam Bertrand and singing dad Matt Mauser. Inspiring musician Mauser lost his wife, basketball coach Christina Mauser, in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant last January. He got unanimous yeses from the judges after his emotional performance of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds," which he dedicated to his late wife.

More about Matt Mauser: Families of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash victims find different ways to cope

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Contributing: Cydney Henderson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'AGT': Simon Cowell bends the rules as 9-year-old singer makes history