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‘America’s Got Talent’ judge Howie Mandel brings 14-year-old to tears after bold move: ‘That was a surprise’


Howie Mandel is making dreams come true, one Golden Buzzer at a time. 

During Tuesday’s episode of “America’s Got Talent,” the 68-year-old judge granted an Alabama teen the opportunity of a lifetime after pressing the highly sought-after Golden Buzzer – which sends contestants straight to the live shows.

Ahead of his performance, 14-year-old Reid Wilson told cameras he fits the typical, middle-child stereotype in that he was often “forgotten.” 

“But now, I will not be forgotten,” he said. “I’m going to put my all into those two minutes.”

Visibly nervous, Wilson proudly took the stage to sing his own version of Lesley Gore’s hit “You Don’t Own Me.” The audience – and judges Mandel, Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell and Sofia Vergara – were clearly blown away.  

‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’ JUDGES BLOWN AWAY BY MIDDLE SCHOOL JANITOR’S VOICE, INSTANTLY EARNS GOLDEN BUZZER

Reid Wilson sang Lesley Gore’s hit “You Don’t Own Me.”

“We weren’t expecting that,” Cowell said.

“I think you’re absolutely incredible,” Klum told Wilson. “I love how you also took your mic off, and then you just gave a little bit more stage presence. Well done.”

“I shut my eyes for a moment when you were singing just to listen to your voice, and then I opened them again, and there’s this sweet, young kid,” Cowell added. “Is there one artist that has inspired you, Reid?”

“Yes, I love Aretha Franklin,” he admitted. “That’s definitely the dream to have a big name like that.” 

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Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel admitted he was “surprised” by Wilson’s performance. (Getty/NBC )

“I was surprised,” Mandel said. “First of all, you’re just a 14-year-old kid from Alabama. So I would imagine… I put myself in your position, you were very nervous, and you did come off incredibly nervous. So that was a surprise.”

“You know what, that stage is where dreams come true,” he continued. “Do you believe in dreams? Well, one of them is about to come true.”

Mandel got up from his seat and pressed the Golden Buzzer, bringing Wilson to tears. 

America's Got Talent

All four “AGT” judges were blown away by Wilson’s performance. (NBC)

Earlier in the season, Cowell made show history by pressing the Golden Buzzer twice in one episode. Historically, judges were allowed to press the Golden Buzzer only one time per season.

During an episode of the NBC show last month, Cowell first pressed the Golden Buzzer for Chicago-based singer Liv Warfield after she gave a lively performance with her band.

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Later in the episode, a group of six men called Sky Elements performed an impressive drone light show. 

In a shocking turn of events, Cowell pressed the same buzzer for the second time, immediately prompting questions from production, his fellow judges and the audience. 

Simon Cowell puts his hand to his chin as he watches a performance in a chair

Simon Cowell made game show history earlier in the season, allowing judges to have two opportunities to press the Golden Buzzer. (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

“Simon, what are you doing?” a producer asked. 

“You already had one,” Mandel said. “That’s his second one.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Cowell responded. “I had to.”

After discussing logistics with production, the rules for season 19 were changed on the spot. Judges now have two opportunities to press the Golden Buzzer for acts they think are deserving of a spot in the live shows. 

Mandel used his final Golden Buzzer on Wilson. 

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