America's Got Talent featured the first Golden-Buzzer recipient, Voices of Our City Choir, during Tuesday night's Season 15 premiere episode on NBC.

Voices of Our City Choir, an adult choir comprised of homeless people of different ages, backgrounds and races from San Diego, CA, took the America's Got Talent stage and delivered an emotional performance for AGT judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and newcomer Sofia Vergara.

Steph Johnson founded Voices of Our City Choir four years ago when she discovered some people on the streets were fighting for their lives.

"There were so many people living in shelters in my neighborhood. I met musicians and singers, and I was like, 'Wow, we could put together a group and sing together,'" Steph told the judges.

"Most people who are in the choir, they can't afford medicine and they can't afford rent, so we help them out. And through the money that we've raised, we've helped people get off the street."

Before the choir's performance, pre-taped footage featured members of the choir sharing their personal stories -- including an elderly woman named Patrice, who had been homeless from the age of 18 "up until now."

"Homelessness doesn't fit one skin color or one age bracket," Patrice said.

"I've had a lot of bad experiences out there. Beat up, robbed. But who is going to listen to me? I thank God for Voices of Our City Choir. Somebody wants to hear from me, and I'll be singing loud."

And one man named Derek, who's been homeless since 2012, said on the verge of tears, "If it wasn't for this choir, I wouldn't be here. The choir has brought me back."

"It's hard, trying to get it together, and people look at you like you're dirt," another singer shared in the background package.

America's Got Talent host Terry Crews told the group backstage before they went on that they "represent so many people who are underrepresented or not represented."

"The arts saved me in so many ways," Terry admitted, "and let me tell you -- you are going to encourage and inspire so many people today."

Voices of Our City Choir performed an original song called "Sounds of the Sidewalk," and they earned a standing ovation from all four judges, as well as from the entire theater.
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"That was beautiful!" Sofia began.

"The words of the song were really special. They were so perfect for you guys. I think we need more people like you that are really taking matters into their own hands. It was fantastic."

Howie then said, "Homelessness is pervasive all over the world, but it's huge in this country and we need to solve this problem and we need to come together."

"Now I have to say," Howie continued, "who you are and what you're doing and why you're doing it, it blows me and the entire audience away."

Heidi said she could feel "the comradery" and "the togetherness" of the ensemble, adding that their vocals "moved" her and it was a "beautiful" performance.

"There is no question or doubt that there is strength in numbers," Simon added, before complimenting the tone of Patrice's voice.

"What we have here is a collection of really talented people, and we need that raw talent to begin with. And that's what we got. We live in a world at the moment where there is so much talking, but you've actually made something happen."

Terry then chimed in and started yelling onstage, "Simon, Simon, Simon! I've got to stop you right now! You said there's nothing but talk going on, but it's time to make something happen, right now, for everybody on this stage."

Terry walked over to the judges' table as he spoke, enforcing the idea he was about to give the choir a pass to live shows, which typically film in a theater in Hollywood but will presumably be different this year given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"What they did today has moved me to this point right now," Terry shouted.

Terry then slammed down on the Golden Buzzer button, which erupted cheers from everyone in the theater and brought the vocalists to tears. Patrice even fell to the ground with surprise and happiness.

Terry appeared to get choked up as well, and he later told the choir backstage, "We love you guys, and I'm honored to help you today. What you're doing right now is beyond. It's totally beyond, and you deserve it."

The Golden Buzzer will automatically advance Voices of Our City Choir to America's Got Talent's Season 15 live shows in whatever form they eventually take.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.