America's Got Talent/Rodrigo Veiga/YouTube
Season 18 of America’s Got Talent has been full of surprises, and Tuesday’s episode was no different. Judge Sofia Vergara hit her Golden Buzzer for Brazilian singer Gabriel Henrique after he wowed the crowd with a cover of Whitney Houston’s 1992 hit, “Run To You.”
Prior to his performance, the 27-year-old made his way to the stage with his interpreter and explained that this was his first time in the United States and didn’t speak English well.
“It’s my first time here in the United States and I’m just realizing a dream to be here, to sing for you guys here,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel then launched into a jaw-dropping performance of “Run To You,” a song from the 1992 blockbuster film “The Bodyguard.” Gabriel’s impressive ability to hit the high notes that Whitney Houston was known for brought all four judges and the crowd to their feet.
“If Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey had a baby, it would be Gabriel!” Heidi Klum said. “I mean, wow. You are incredible!”
Howie Mandel stated that Gabriel’s voice surprised him, saying, “I did not expect that voice to come out.” Simon Cowell agreed that the singer was “amazing.”
Judge Sofia Vergara told Gabriel that she had been waiting all season for a “very beautiful and very heartfelt” performance. When it came time to vote, the judges unanimously agreed to advance Gabriel in the competition. But, Vergara took it one step farther and gave the singer the Golden Buzzer.
“How spectacular!” Sofía told him. “You had us dying over here!”
This season a total of 7 Golden Buzzers will be awarded. Six have now been given, including Tuesday night’s. Earlier in the season Heidi Klum hit the coveted buzzer for blind singer Lavender Darcangelo, Howie Mandel awarded his to dance group Murmuration, blind singer Putri Ariani earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer, host Terry Crews hit his buzzer for the Atlanta Drum Academy, and the first-ever Audience Golden Buzzer was awarded to South African singers, Mzansi Youth Choir, for their tribute to the late Season 16 contestant, Nightbirde.
The Group Golden Buzzer from the judges is yet to be awarded.
Watch Gabriel Henrique’s Golden Buzzer-worthy performance of “Run To You” in the video below.