Maureen Feighan The Detroit News
Published 6:30 AM EDT Sep 11, 2019
The Detroit Youth Choir shot for the stars Tuesday at the semifinals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” but whether it was enough to secure a spot in the finals is in America’s hands now.
Vying for one of five spots in the finals, the energetic choir on Tuesday dazzled with a performance of Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes.” It included a brief rap and step performance.
“Ya’ll took us to church. You took us to praise and worship, you took us to a step show,” said judge Gabrielle Union. “It was everything. You guys were amazing.”
Union wasn’t the only one blown away by the performance.
“As the daughter of a teacher, I know how much it means to bring the best out of the youth, to bring the best out of children, to bring something out of them that they don’t even see in themselves,” said guest judge Queen Latifah, referring to choir director Anthony White. “And you have done that.”
Judge Simon Cowell, who called the performance the group’s best since their audition, also praised White.
“We all need a Mr. White in our lives,” said Cowell.
White called his choir an inspiration.
“They are truly an inspiration to me, and hopefully I’m an inspiration to them as well,” said White. “They work so hard. They work so hard.”
Before Tuesday’s show, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlan Gilchrist posted a video on social media, wishing the choir well.
“We want to wish the Detroit Youth Choir the best of luck,” said Whitmer. “We are so proud of you.”
“‘America’s Got Talent’ is not ready for Detroit Youth Choir,” said Gilchrist. “We are ready for ya’ll to make the state of Michigan proud.”
The Detroit Youth Choir has wowed audiences during its run on Season 14 of the competition. It earned a golden buzzer from host Terry Crews, a Flint native, which guaranteed the group a spot. The group was voted into the semifinals after performing Carrie Underwood and Ludacris’ “The Champion.”
The choir, established in 1996, features children from ages 8 to 18. It teaches and develops students through music education, dance and theatrical arts, according to AGT’s website.
The results of Tuesday’s semifinals will be announced Wednesday. All told, 10 acts will compete in the finals Sept. 17 and Sept. 18. The winner will receive a $1 million prize and a slot as a headlining act in Las Vegas.
The choir’s performance, meanwhile, comes as the Parade Company announced on Tuesday that the group will be the opening act at America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit on Nov. 28.
“We are elated to have this remarkable group celebrated once again on a national stage when they open the parade for us on Thanksgiving morning,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of the Parade Company.
To vote for the Detroit Youth Choir, go to the “AGT” app or NBC.com/agtvote. Voting ends at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
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