Fourteen-year-old Laura Bretan had a lot to prove when she took the stage for the first time since getting a golden buzzer during the Season 11 premiere of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and she did not disappoint.
The timid Chicago-area singer whose jaw-dropping performance last month prompted Mel B to send her straight to the live rounds had the judges on their feet at the end of her second-ever appearance on the show.
“This is my golden buzzer and well deserved,” former Spice Girl Melanie Brown said after Bretan sang. “My God I mean halfway through that song you turned into somebody else. Where does this voice come from? It is incredible and so powerful.”
And Brown wasn’t alone in her praise of Bretan, who got what was arguably her biggest compliment from notoriously critical judge Simon Cowell.
“This is why we made this show. So that we could find people like you,” Cowell said. “You are such a special, talented person. The fact that your arms were sort of flailing around it was a bit awkawrd, and then you go into like the turbo gear halfway through and just kill us with that vocal.”
Even Heidi Klum said the teen’s stunning performance gave her “chills.”
“Every hair on my body is standing up,” she said.
With tears in her eyes, an emotional Bretan simply told the judges and the audience “this just means so much to me.”
“Being here tonight really means a lot,” she said.
But Bretan was the only Chicago act to earn praise from the judges Tuesday.
A group of high school students from Chicago’s Southwest Side earned major compliments for their unique and moving version of Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time.”
“I think you guys like other acts we see have just gotten better and better and better,” Cowell said. “I have so many friends call to say how much they like you and what you stand for. I think you are an inspiration.”
Last week the group from Curie Metropolitan High School called the “Musicality Vocal Ensemble” fought through tragedy to earn their slot in the live rounds.
“Every single one of us is hurting right now,” said “Musicality” director Michael Gibson.
Shortly after stunning the judges in their first audition, one member of the singing group learned his sister had been murdered.
But the group went on to give a tear-jerking performance that had guest judge Louis Tomlinson, of the band One Direction, in awe.
“It’s incredible to watch you guys perform,” said guest judge Louis Tomlinson, of the band One Direction. “The unity and the love you have for each other is so infectious. It was really, really nice."
Fans voted for the acts until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The results are scheduled to air at 7 p.m.
“America’s Got Talent” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays on NBC.