Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell

 Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell


The first couple of episodes of America's Got Talent have produced some unforgettable performances, including two young songbirds and an octogenarian headbanger.

Grace VanderWaal, all of 12, and her ukulele got the Golden Buzzer after she performed her own composition, which was reminiscent of some other introspective singer-songwriters out there. 

"I think you are a living, beautiful, walking miracle," Mandel said, right before he hit the buzzer that sends contestants straight through to the live shows.

In case you hadn't figured out the singer-songwriter, Cowell lets her know, even saying he's annoyed he wasn't the one to press the buzzer: "I think you are the next Taylor Swift."

And then there's Laura Bretan. Her audition may have left her and some of the audience (me) weeping tears of joy, but it's not getting a pass from some critics in the world of classical music.

Though happy that Bretan, 13, brought Puccini to the masses on the grand stage of network TV, they're a little worried about the young singer's voice.

Bretan, who just won Romania's Got Talent, was nervous and admitted it. But when she opened her mouth, the judges and audience were stunned. Her Nessun Dorma sounded beyond her years. While that might be a good thing for judge Simon Cowell and Co., evoking a standing ovation, it didn't sit well elsewhere.

A voice teacher and others are saying that Laura is pushing her voice to do unnatural things that might endanger her voice for later, reports Classic FM. Her performance has prompted an open letter from opera singer Heidi Moss and even a GoFundMe to "Send Simon Cowell to the Met."

That's because Cowell was bowled over, almost left speechless.

"I have never heard anything like that in all the years I've been doing this show," said Cowell, who actually thanked her for coming on the show.

Judge Mel B, with the other judges smiling on, hit the Golden Buzzer.

We don't know what buzzer awaits John Hetlinger. 

But Simon could barely contain himself during Hetlinger's audition, giggling behind his hand after the initial shock wore off of hearing an older gentleman chant, "Let the bodies hit the floor" as he launched into "Bodies" by Drowning Pool.

The audience jumped to its feet and some of them could be seen covering their ears. At 82, I'm sure Hetlinger, a retired aeronautical engineer and former Navy pilot, feels like he can do anything he wants. The judges seemed to feel that way, too, letting him finish. Howard even gave him a standing O.

America's Got Talent airs on Tuesdays at 7 on NBC. There are bound to be more astonishing performances down the line. But these first two episodes are setting up to be a whale of a season.

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