Blind, Autistic Woman Brings Tears to Heidi Klum’s Eyes with a Golden Buzzer-Worthy Audition

ByQuyen Anne

Jul 26, 2023


Fitchburg singer Lavender Darcangelo will progress straight to the live shows of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after her performance received the “golden buzzer” from judge Heidi Klum on the show’s Tuesday episode.

The 28-year-old musician, who is blind and autistic, auditioned with the song “Out Here On My Own,” originally sung by Irene Cara in the 1980 movie, “Fame.” During her performance, a camera briefly showed judge Sofia Vergara staring at the stage in awe.

Lavender Darcangelo of Fitchburg is competing this season on "America's Got Talent."

“I’ve been singing since I was 3 years old. I didn’t talk until I was 4 ½. I would sit in my room every night and fantasize about being on TV or on a CD,” Darcangelo said. “I have a lot of dreams. I want to build a school where the classes are based on what the kids are curious at. ‘America’s Got Talent’ is my favorite show because it’s about being different and I know I’m not normal.”

The “golden buzzer” is a button that each judge, plus host Terry Crews, can each press once during the audition rounds at the beginning of each season. If the buzzer is pressed after a performance, the contestant being judged will advance directly to the live rounds of the show, no matter how the other three judges respond. In previous seasons, some contestants who got the “golden buzzer” have gone on to win the grand prize: $1 million and a residency performing in Las Vegas.

The two-hour episode ended with Lavender Darcangelo’s segment, which began with a quiet moment backstage, shared with family. She then took the stage, first with her father, Wil Darcangelo, then alone, with just a piano track playing as she belted the emotional ballad.

Lavender Darcangelo claps for another contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” during a watch party held Tuesday at River Styx Brewery in Fitchburg.

After the last note of “Out Here On My Own,” judge Howie Mandel informed Lavender that the audience she could not see had given her a standing ovation. She gasped and wiped tears from her eyes.

“We make the show because we get to meet people like you occasionally,” judge Simon Cowell said.

Auditions for “America’s Got Talent” were taped earlier this year and began airing in May. Wil Darcangelo said when he and his husband, Jamie, were invited onstage to celebrate with their daughter, the moment felt surreal, but months later, the memory lasts.

“It was like a blur, really. Lavender was crying, people were hugging us, there was gold confetti falling from the ceiling and several days later I found some in a shirt pocket,” Wil said.

The Darcangelos’ watch party at River Styx Brewery in Fitchburg was packed with dozens of relatives, friends and community members who cheered wildly every time Lavender appeared on screen, even for a split-second clip in a montage before a commercial break. A projector showed the performance on a blank wall, larger than life. When Klum hit the golden button on the judges’ desk, the room erupted and suddenly the show could no longer be heard over the sound of cheering and the pops of tiny confetti cannons, launching gold confetti into the air that matched the glitter onscreen.

All contestants on “America’s Got Talent” talk about their life stories on the show, but the Darcangelo family’s journey has been particularly unique. Lavender first met Wil, her adoptive father, when she was singing in the Tribe student music program at Fitchburg High School, and within months, she knew adoption was the path she wanted to take. Wil was surprised at first, but a few years later, in 2017, Wil and Jamie eventually legally adopted Lavender, when she was 22.

Confetti rained down on Lavender Darcangelo, center, after Darcangelo received the “golden buzzer” from judge Heidi Klum on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” during a watch party held Tuesday at River Styx Brewery in Fitchburg.

Wil told the Telegram & Gazette in June that he worried about whether fame would be overwhelming for his daughter, but he later said his family had a reassuring experience after auditions were over.

“We went out to dinner at a restaurant nearby, and at the booth next to us, there was a couple who had been in the taping. They were very nice and they toasted to our family and then they let us have our dinner, so it was a pleasant version of recognition,” Wil said. “It was a little taste of what it’s like to be recognized in a public place.”

Lavender’s next appearance on “America’s Got Talent” will happen during the show’s live episodes, which will air weekly beginning Aug. 22. Live shows will air at 8 p.m. Tuesdays, with audience voting results being revealed on the following Wednesdays. The audience vote will decide each episode which two acts each week will move forward.

Lavender Darcangelo has big dreams, and one of them just came true! On Tuesday’s episode of “America’s Got Talent,” the 27-year-old singer wowed the audience with her rendition of “Out Here On My Own,” originally performed by Irene Cara. It was a meaningful choice for Lavender, who admitted to judges that, as a blind person with autism, she didn’t feel “normal.” Her connection to the lyrics was clear throughout her truly moving audition.

All four judges were floored by Lavender’s performance, but Heidi Klum was especially touched — so much that she wanted to give the singer a leg up in the competition.

“I would love to be your cheerleader and hold your hand all the way to the finish line,” said Heidi, before awarding the contestant her Golden Buzzer.

Watch Lavender’s spectacular audition in the video below.

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