'America's Got Talent' Season 15: Spoken word artist Brandon Leake wins the golden buzzer for gut-wrenching poem
The poet recited a piece about his departed baby sister with raw passion, moving Sofia Vergara to tears and prompting Howie Mandel to hit his golden buzzer
Brandon Leake, a 27-year-old counselor from California, closed out the latest episode of 'America's Got Talent' with a riveting poetry performance that earner him Howie Mandel's golden buzzer.
"Yup the #goldenbuzzer trend of only selecting #SingersWithASobStory has been broken tonight!" tweeted one evidently ecstatic viewer. Golden Buzzers go to the best acts during these audition episodes, but they have definitely been awarded more often to musical acts with gut-wrenching stories to tell. Tonight, it went to one of the most unique acts in the show's history.
Leake, the show's first spoken word artist, recited a stunning self-written piece dedicated to his beloved sister, who was born when Leake for just four years old and passed away not long after. The sheer raw power of his performance, as Howie pointed out right before he hit the Golden Buzzer, was beyond moving, which was exceptional considering Leake performed with absolutely no accompaniment, neither visual nor aural.
"Oh my god," tweeted one viewer. Another said, "He is 100% amazing for Brandon, This is one of my favorite performances of the night tonight." One viewer stated, "That was pretty profound and powerful," while another shared, "That #AGT performance was absolutely one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard in my life... People like that are who will change this world for the better."
Some couldn't help but feel deeply emotional about Leake's story, tweeting, "His sister passed when she was just a baby," and Sofia Vergara was evidently just as moved, stating after Leake was finished performing that her brother passed away the same year his sister did and revealed an unspoken bond the two shared.
While some weren't fans of the performance, stating, "Another bogus golden buzzer," most seemed to think otherwise, tweeting "@howiemandel such a perfect golden buzzer choice,."
Tonight’s #AGT #goldenbuzzer was so well deserved," as well as, "I imagined his little sister dancing and spinning in the gold confetti."
The auditions on AGT now occur in front of an empty auditorium, owing to social distancing rules that were in place when these episodes were filmed, but remarkably, this did not phase the contestants, though some viewers evidently missed the loud cheering.
One viewer shared, "I couldn’t think of a more deserving, original and unexpected #goldenbuzzer @howiemandel. I wish he had an audience that day to share that with. Incredible," while another said, "There was just something right about Brandon doing spoken word poetry in front of an empty arena on #AGT that made it perfect & raw." Another stated, however, that "An audience would have ruined this."