'America's Got Talent': Heidi Klum Brings 'Insanely Good' Singer to Tears With Golden Buzzer Honor
By Zach Seemayer
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Cristina Rae is singing her heart out for a chance to make a better life for her and her young son. The powerful vocalist and single mom took to the America's Got Talent stage on Tuesday's new episode and earned the Golden Buzzer after performing not one but two show-stopping numbers.
Before Rae took the stage, the judges noticed her toddler, Jeremiah, stepping out from the wings of the stage between auditions, and were charmed by the cute kid.
As Rae took the stage, joined by Jeremiah, the Nashville native was asked why she chose to audition for AGT, and she explained, "I need this to change my life.
"As you can see, I'm a single mom and I was living in my vehicle while pregnant. I was [homeless] before I gave birth to my son," Rae shared. "This will change my life by putting us in a home, my own home, not just family situations.
"I want him to have his own room," Rae said, hugging Jeremiah. "I want us to live in our own home, not just a house."
"So do we! We want that for you," Howie Mandel replied excitedly. "I want you to think of this building and that stage as your house, and we are your family."
Rae belted out a rendition of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" that seemed to impress the audience, but left Simon Cowell wanting to hear more. "Can I hear your second song?" Cowell said. "I want you to imagine that you've just done the concert, and this is your encore moment."
She then delivered a next-level rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" that put a soulful twist on the iconic rock anthem, and earned her a standing ovation from all four judges and everyone in the audience.
"It was fantastic. Heidi and I, we were getting goosebumps," Vergara said. "I know it's not time to vote yet, but I vote yes!"
"You blew the roof off this house," Mandel added.
Cowell was equally effusive with his praise, telling Rae, "There is only one way to describe your voice, it is insanely good. There is absolutely no point making shows like this unless we find people like you. I adore you."
"I think you are absolutely out of this world," Klum chimed in. "My heart is racing for you, it really is."
"Are you ready for this right now?" the model added, gesturing toward the Golden Buzzer in front of her, before slamming her hand down and showing Rae in a flurry of shimmering confetti.
Rae was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears, falling to her knees before getting a hug from Klum.
"You're amazing. I want you to have that house and you're on your way to getting it right now," Klum told Rae, as her little boy joined her onstage.
"I think you might be one of the best singers we've ever had," Cowell told Rae after a big group hug.
Getting the Golden Buzzer means Rae immediately moves past the Judge Cuts round and into the next stage of competition. That being said, this season of AGT will soon be looking a little different than ever before, considering the widespread production shutdowns across the entertainment industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The show is reportedly retooling the season to keep production going in a way the show never has before -- possibly remotely.
ET recently spoke with Cowell -- who also created the show and serves as an executive producer -- regarding the audition rounds, and he explained how the show tried to push through until that was no longer an option.
"When we first started, we had a full audience, and then day by day, you know, things started to get worse, so we went nine days with an audience and then we had to do two days without an audience, which we'd never done before," Cowell recalled. "By day 11, we just went, 'OK, it really, really isn't safe now.'"
For more on this season of AGT, check out the video below.