When 9-year-old Angelica Hale took the stage on Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent”, the adorable contestant made a bold statement when asked who she looked to when it came to her musical inspiration.
“I want to be the next Whitney Houston. I want to be a superstar,” Hale said with a giant smile on her face. “And I’m so happy to be here, because I’ve been watching your show on Youtube and now I’m like, in it! And I’m so awestruck.”
While her aspirations may be grand, it was the judges and the audience who ended up awestruck when Hale began to sing and blew the roof off the auditorium.
Belting out the emotional lyrics of Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” Hale showed a vocal range and talent far beyond her years that simply stunned everyone in the room.
Judge Simon Cowell was mesmerized by the amazing performance and marveled, “You’re tiny, your voice is huge, and I have a feeling we may be looking at a star in the future.”
Needless to say, all four judges voted “yes,” and Hale is moving on to the next round of the competition.
The young singer’s story is even sweeter when considering how far she’s come in her journey. Before she took the stage, viewers got to meet Hale’s mom and dad, who explained the difficult road their little girl has walked.
“Five years ago, we never imagined that she’d be here today,” Angelica’s father recalled. “When she was four years old, we brought her into the emergency room and that’s when we found out she had double pneumonia and her kidneys stopped working.”
According to the proud father, doctors had all but told them that they were going to lose their little girl, until her mother became her hero by donating her kidney. Now, she’s taking “AGT” by storm and judge Howie Mandel says he sees great things in her future.
“I predict that all of your dreams are going to come true!” Mandel told Hale, which brought the young songstress to tears.
The beautifully emotional episode continued with Mandy Harvey, a 29-year-old singer-songwriter who lost her hearing when she was 18 due to a connective tissue disorder, and had to re-learn how to sing and how to trust her pitch.
Playing the ukulele, and accompanied by a guitarist and a keyboard player, Harvey performed a soul-stirring original ballad called “Try,” which told the story of her emotional journey after she decided not to let her hearing impairment keep her from making her dreams a reality.
The powerful performance brought tears to everyone’s eyes, and earned a standing ovation as Harvey sang the final, beautiful notes. Without any of the judges saying a word, Cowell reached across the table and hit the Golden Buzzer.
After the incredible performance, former “Dancing With the Stars” champ and fashion model Nyle DiMarco, who is also deaf, took to Twitter to congratulate the young singer.
“Congrats @mandyharvey on @AGT!!!” DiMarco wrote. “I love it when deaf people break barriers!!!”
The show had a number of super adorable moments as well, including a dog who knew how to read and do math.
There were also a pair of adorable child dancers — who performed an interpretive routine set to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” — who Heidi Klum said looked like a “little mini me and a little mini Seal,” referring to her former husband.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.