‘America’s Got Talent’ Reveals Surprising Fifth Judge

Simon Cowell on America's Got Talent / YouTube

America’s Got Talent premiered Season 18 on Tuesday night and the show shook things up when it introduced a surprise fifth judge. This was a huge moment and the fans in attendance loved it, giving the show a standing ovation after the announcement.

Here is a look at who the surprise fifth judge was and what this meant for the show’s premiere.

America’s Got Talent introduces fifth judge

On Tuesday night, America’s Got Talent returned for Season 18. After a night of fun and impressive performances, the Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa took the stage to perform. The choir shook up the judges with their choice of song. They sang “It’s Okay” by Nightbirde. This was important because Nightbirde was a contestant on the show in 2021. She received a Golden Buzzer but then had to leave to focus on her cancer battle.

Nightbirde died in February 2022 at the age of 31.

Mzansi Youth Choir on America's Got Talent / YouTube

When the choir finished, Simon Cowell asked why they chose that song. They revealed that when they saw Nightbirde perform in 2021, it inspired and touched them. As a result, they recorded the song themselves. They said that Nightbirde heard it and responded “beautifully.” Additionally, they added that the song remains a “pillar of strength” to the band when they face difficult times. They then said they want to continue her legacy.


This caused Cowell to break down and start to cry. He said he knew how much this would have meant to Nightbirde. He struggled to keep his composure and the audience started to chant for the judges to award the Mzansi Youth Choir a Golden Buzzer. However, Simon had other plans. He said it was time to reveal the “fifth” judge to decide their fate.

Terry Crews announces the new ‘fifth judge’

Simon Cowell said he and the other judges had spoken about times like this. “We’ve never done this before, but we’ve always discussed one day giving the audience something,” he said. The other judges agreed, which caused Terry Crews to run out onto the stage and yelled, “The fifth judge.” All four judges and Crews hit the Golden Buzzer and the audience officially became the fifth judge for the night.

Every season, each of the judges at the table gets one Golden Buzzer to give out. Terry Crew also gets a Golden Buzzer choice as the host. Now, there are six people getting a Golden Buzzer this season, as the audience received the gift of moving the Mzansi Youth Choir on to the next round. The audience rose and roared its approval as the confetti rained down, moving the choir straight into the Live Shows.

What were your thoughts on the Mzansi Youth Choir and their performance of the Nightbirde song on America’s Got Talent? Was it nice to see the audience have a say in one of the Golden Buzzer winners this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Lealos
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