Two choirs have been lighting up the stage on summer's most popular TV program, America's Got Talent. It's been huge exposure for the choral genre on the NBC talent show, which regularly draws more than 10 million viewers a week.
The diverse adult choir Angel City Chorale, from Los Angeles, first earned raves a few weeks ago for its memorable performance of Toto's "Africa," including a human-powered thunderstorm. On Tuesday night, the ensemble returned for the next round of judging with a stirring rendition of "Baba Yetu" (Swahili for "Our Father"), which has become a choral favorite after debuting in a 2005 video game.
"Not only am I listening to you and absorbing the sound," judge Howie Mandel said afterward, "but I'm looking at your faces. And everyone just is living the song, more than just playing the song or singing the song. You took me on a journey, and I love you."
Guest judge Olivia Munn went on to praise the 145-member group's diversity and captivating performance. She ultimately slammed the Golden Buzzer, a once-per-judge gesture that not only showered the chorale with golden confetti but sent it straight to the show's season-capping live broadcasts.
It was much the same story last week for the children's choir Voices of Hope.
The kids had a shaky performance when they first appeared during AGT's Auditions round a month ago, but they managed to eke out a pass to the Judge Cuts round. The kids allayed any doubts about their abilities last Tuesday with a heartwarming rendition of "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, which elicited tears from judge Mel B and admiration from Simon Cowell.
"What you project, and what I felt, was an unbelievable energy," the typically acerbic Cowell said, before lauding the group's director, Sarah Grandpré. "Sarah, I think what you've done is actually incredible. I'm really proud of all of you. This is amazing."
Guest judge Ken Jeong then said, "Well, from all of us to all of you" and then hit the Golden Buzzer.
What a summer of national exposure it's been for these two inspiring choral groups.