The performance from a youth choir out of Detroit brought America’s Got Talent host Terry Crews to tears, and then brought him to hit the golden buzzer, sending choir members directly into the live rounds of competition.
The extremely large group, composed of Detroit children and choir director Anthony White, are from Crews’s home state of Michigan.
“The Detroit Youth Choir is a community-based choir. We have a lot of inner city kids. Some of them have bad home situations, or they could be in the streets. There’s violence. We give them something positive to come and be a part of,” White said backstage, via America’s Got Talent.
“Mr. White knows things that Detroit children go through, so he’s able to help us feel safe and fix those things through music or dance,” one choir member said backstage, via America’s Got Talent.
Crews told the White he is from Flint, a city a little over an hour drive from Detroit. Crews became emotional over the group even while he and they were still backstage.
“Let me tell you Mr. White, people like you are they reason I am where I am right now. Let me tell you, all it takes is one person to believe that you can do it. And you have that. And that’s more than so many people have on this Earth,” Crews told White and the group backstage.
When they came out on stage, the judges were impressed by the large amount of children that appeared on stage one after the other.
After introductions with the judges, Simon Cowell gave his view of this kind of performing group.
“I actually love choirs, and we’ve never had a choir win this show,” Cowell said.
“Well this can be the first,” said White.
“Okay, well, good luck,” said Cowell.
“Let’s do it,” said White.
The choir then performed a unique rendition of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song “Can’t Hold Us.” Crews is shown looking at the group and dancing along with them from the stage’s wings.
The performance gets a standing ovation.
The judges give positive feedback on the performance, and Simon gives the choir director a valuable tip on future performances.
“Wow! You’re cool. This was not expected. If you can keep doing this, where every performance is the last thing you would expect a choir to do, you could win this,” Simon tells the choir.
Before the judges actually give their votes on whether they will allow the choir to proceed to the next round, Terry Crews comes out on stage, emotional, and on the verge of tears.
“Every young man and woman on the stage represents me and where I came from. I remember sitting out my window in Flint, Michigan, dreaming, and wanting to make it and wanting to be here, and they’re here. And they did so well, that I have to do this,” Crews says.
Members of the choir cry as Crews speaks, and then become ecstatic as he approaches the golden buzzer. Then it turns into one big celebration after Crews hits the buzzer and the judges join the choir on stage.
“Our mission is to offer youth in the Metropolitan Detroit area a world-class performing arts experience that develops their creative skills and talents through music education, dance, and theatrical arts,” reads the choir’s mission statement, via its web page.
The choir is a nonprofit organization that admits children and teens who are 8 to 18 years old from the Detroit area. The organization began in 1996. White became the conductor in 2001, according to the choir’s webpage.
The choir performs and makes recordings locally, nationally, and internationally.
Detroit is number 2 on a list of the most violent cities in the United States, according to World Atlas, using statistics compiled from the FBI.