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The Golden Buzzer is a concept that was introduced in Season 9 of America's Got Talent. Each judge may press their Golden Buzzer only once during the season. In Season 9, the Golden Buzzer sent the act to the next round regardless of the other judges' votes; its main purpose was to break ties. In Season 10, the Golden Buzzer was upgraded to send an act straight to the live shows. This method continues on for the next several seasons. From Season 11 onwards, the host can use the Golden Buzzer to send an act straight to the live shows.

Season 9

Season 9 featured the debut of the golden buzzers. Howard Stern used his on Dustin's Dojo, and Howie Mandel used his on Emmanuel & Phillip Hudson. Heidi Klum used her golden buzzer for a Cyr wheel acrobatic duo called "The Birthday Boys," featuring Brad Henderson, who performed the act solo in the next round for Judgement Week, but neither performances were televised. All 3 of the acts were cut during Judgement Week. Mel B used her Season 9 Golden Buzzer, but it is unknown who she gave it to as it was never shown.

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Dustin's Dojo
Howard Stern
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Emmanuel & Phillip Hudson
Howie Mandel
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Brad Henderson
Heidi Klum
(Never televised)

Season 10

In Season 10, the golden buzzer format was changed so that acts who receive the buzzer are now given a spot in the Quarterfinals. Howie Mandel was first shown pressing it for Drew Lynch, a comedian with a speech impediment, Howard Stern used his for Freckled Sky, a dance duo, Mel B used hers for Sharon Irving, a singer, and Heidi Klum gave the buzzer to young Opera singer, Arielle Baril.

The guest judges for the series were also allowed to use the Golden Buzzer during the Judge Cuts. Neil Patrick Harris was the first to use his for comedy magician Piff the Magic Dragon. Michael Bublé was the second, using his golden buzzer on vocal duo The CraigLewis Band. Marlon Wayans was next, pressing his for ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. Piers Morgan was the last guest judge, and he used his golden buzzer for dance group Siro-A.

Freckled Sky was the only Golden Buzzer act this season eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Arielle Baril, Siro-A, and Sharon Irving were all eliminated in the Semifinals. Piff the Magic Dragon missed out on the Top 5 in the Finals, while The CraigLewis Band and Drew Lynch finished in 5th and 2nd place respectively. Paul Zerdin was the season's winner.

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Drew Lynch
Howie Mandel
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Freckled Sky
Howard Stern
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Sharon Irving
Mel B
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Arielle Baril
Heidi Klum
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Piff the Magic Dragon
Neil Patrick Harris
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The CraigLewis Band
Michael Bublé
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Paul Zerdin
Marlon Wayans
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Siro-A
Piers Morgan

Season 11

Season 11's format was similar to Season 10, but host Nick Cannon was also given a chance to use the Golden Buzzer.

Mel B was the first to press the golden buzzer this season, for 13-year-old opera singer Laura Bretan. Howie Mandel was the second to use the golden buzzer, pressing it for 12-year-old singer/ukulelist, Grace VanderWaal. Heidi Klum then pressed the golden buzzer for 20-year-old jazz singer Sal Valentinetti. Simon Cowell was the final judge to press the golden buzzer, for 16-year-old singer Calysta Bevier. For the first time on the show, Nick Cannon had his own opportunity to press the golden buzzer; he did so for 90-year-old striptease dancer Dorothy Williams.

In the Judge Cuts, Ne-Yo was the first guest judge to use the golden buzzer, pressing it for magician Jon Dorenbos. Reba McEntire used her golden buzzer on 14-year-old gymnast/contortionist Sofie Dossi. George Lopez used his golden buzzer on malambo group Malevo. Finally, Louis Tomlinson used the golden buzzer for 14-year-old singer Jayna Brown.

Dorothy Williams was the only Golden Buzzer act this season eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Malevo, Calysta Bevier, and Jayna Brown were eliminated in the Semifinals. Sofie Dossi and Laura Bretan missed out on the Top 5, while Sal Valentinetti and Jon Dorenbos finished in 5th and 3rd place respectively. Grace VanderWaal was the season's winner.

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Laura Bretan
Mel B
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Grace VanderWaal
Howie Mandel
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Sal Valentinetti
Heidi Klum
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Calysta Bevier
Simon Cowell
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Dorothy Williams
Nick Cannon
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Jon Dorenbos
Ne-Yo
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Sofie Dossi
Reba McEntire
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Malevo
George Lopez
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Jayna Brown
Louis Tomlinson

Season 12

Season 12's format is identical to that of Season 11.

Mel B was the first to press the golden buzzer this season, for 12-year-old singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne. Simon Cowell pressed his buzzer next, for 29-year-old deaf singer Mandy Harvey. Howie Mandel pressed the button for 16-year-old singer Christian Guardino. Tyra Banks pressed the button for a Ukrainian light-up dance group, Light Balance, the only non-singing act among all the Golden Buzzers. Heidi Klum pressed her button for 13-year-old singer Angelina Green.

In the Judge Cuts, Chris Hardwick was the first guest judge to use the golden buzzer, pressing it for 9-year-old singer Angelica Hale. Next, DJ Khaled pressed his golden buzzer for 21-year-old singer-songwriter/guitarist Chase Goehring. Laverne Cox pressed her button for 9-year-old singer Celine Tam. Seal pressed the final golden buzzer of the season for 32-year-old singer Johnny Manuel.

Angelina Green was the only Golden Buzzer act this season eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Johnny Manuel, Christian Guardino, and Celine Tam were eliminated in the Semifinals. Chase Goehring missed out on the Top 5. Mandy Harvey finished in 4th place, Light Balance in 3rd, and Angelica Hale came in 2nd. Darci Lynne was the season's winner.

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Darci Lynne
Mel B
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Mandy Harvey
Simon Cowell
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Christian Guardino
Howie Mandel
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Light Balance
Tyra Banks
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Angelina Green
Heidi Klum
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Angelica Hale
Chris Hardwick
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Chase Goehring
DJ Khaled
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Celine Tam
Laverne Cox
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Johnny Manuel
Seal

Season 13

Season 13's format is identical to that of Season 11.

Tyra pressed the first golden buzzer of the season for acrobatic group Zurcaroh. Simon followed shortly after, using his for singer Michael Ketterer. Howie pressed his buzzer for 13-year-old singer Courtney Hadwin. Mel gave the honor to 15-year-old singer Amanda Mena. Another singer, Makayla Phillips, got the golden buzzer from Heidi.

In the Judge Cuts, Ken Jeong pressed his buzzer for Voices of Hope Children's Choir. The following week, Olivia Munn pressed hers for Angel City Chorale. Martina McBride then pressed hers for ballroom dance duo Quin and Misha, and finally Chris Hardwick pressed his for 14-year-old rapper Flau'jae.

Flau'jae and Quin and Misha were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Amanda Mena, Makayla Phillips, Voices of Hope Children's Choir and Angel City Chorale were eliminated in the Semifinals. Courtney Hadwin missed out on the Top 5 of the Finals, while Michael Ketterer finished in 5th place and Zurcaroh finished as runner-up.

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Zurcaroh
Tyra Banks
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Michael Ketterer
Simon Cowell
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Courtney Hadwin
Howie Mandel
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Amanda Mena
Mel B
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Makayla Phillips
Heidi Klum
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Voices of Hope Children's Choir
Ken Jeong
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Angel City Chorale
Olivia Munn
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Quin and Misha
Martina McBride
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Flau'jae
Chris Hardwick

Season 14

Season 14's format is identical to that of Seasons 11-13.

Gabrielle Union pressed the first Golden Buzzer of the season for singer/pianist Kodi Lee. Howie Mandel pressed his for singer/rapper Joseph Allen. Simon Cowell followed, pressing his for 11-year-old violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa. Next was host Terry Crews, pressing his for Detroit Youth Choir. Julianne Hough pressed hers for 12-year-old singer Luke Islam.

In the Judge Cuts, Brad Paisley pressed his Golden Buzzer for 15-year-old singer/guitarist Sophie Pecora. Dwyane Wade pressed his for dance group V.Unbeatable. Ellie Kemper pressed hers for light-up dance crew Light Balance Kids. Finally, Jay Leno pressed his for 10-year-old opera singer Emanne Beasha.

Sophie Pecora and Joseph Allen were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Luke Islam was the only act eliminated in the Semifinals. Emanne Beasha, Light Balance Kids and Tyler Butler-Figueroa all missed out on the Top 5, while V.Unbeatable finished in 4th place and Detroit Youth Choir finished 2nd. Kodi Lee was the season's winner.

Additionally, dancer Ben Trigger pressed the Golden Buzzer for himself during his audition and his performance in Judge Cuts, but they both didn't count.

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Kodi Lee
Gabrielle Union
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Joseph Allen
Howie Mandel
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Tyler Butler-Figueroa
Simon Cowell
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Detroit Youth Choir
Terry Crews
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Luke Islam
Julianne Hough
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Sophie Pecora
Brad Paisley
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V.Unbeatable
Dwyane Wade
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Light Balance Kids
Ellie Kemper
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Emanne Beasha
Jay Leno

Season 15

Season 15's format is slightly identical to that of Seasons 11-14. However, with production being shut down for a period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Cuts were altered for this season so there were no Golden Buzzers from guest judges this season.

Terry Crews pressed the first Golden Buzzer of the season for Voices of Our City Choir. Sofia Vergara was next, pressing her first-ever Golden Buzzer for 10-year-old singer Roberta Battaglia. Heidi Klum came third, pressing her Golden Buzzer for singer Cristina Rae. Simon Cowell followed, pressing his for dance group W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew. Lastly, Howie Mandel gave his to spoken-word poet Brandon Leake.

None of the Golden Buzzer acts were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Voices of Our City Choir and W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew were eliminated in the Semifinals. Roberta Battaglia and Cristina Rae finished in 4th place and 3rd place respectively. Brandon Leake was the season's winner.

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Voices of Our City Choir
Terry Crews
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Roberta Battaglia
Sofia Vergara
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Cristina Rae
Heidi Klum
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W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew
Simon Cowell
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Brandon Leake
Howie Mandel


Season 16

Season 16's format is identical to that of Season 15, however this season, the judges and Terry as a group also had the power to give a Golden Buzzer to one act. Additionally, since the Judge Cuts round was scrapped this season, no Golden Buzzers were given out by guest judges.

Howie Mandel pressed the first Golden Buzzer of the season for Northwell Health Nurse Choir. Simon Cowell followed, pressing his for singer Nightbirde. Terry Crews pressed his for taekwondo group World Taekwondo Demonstration Team. Sofia Vergara pressed hers for singer Jimmie Herrod. Heidi Klum pressed hers for French quick-change artist Léa Kyle. Finally, the five members as a group gave a Golden Buzzer to 9-year-old opera singer Victory Brinker.

Nightbirde withdrew from the competition prior to the Quarterfinals. None of the remaining Golden Buzzer acts were eliminated in either the Quarterfinals or the Semifinals. Northwell Health Nurse Choir, World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, Jimmie Herrod, and Victory Brinker all missed out on the Top 5, while Léa Kyle finished in 5th place.

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Northwell Health Nurse Choir
Howie Mandel
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Nightbirde
Simon Cowell
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World Taekwondo Demonstration Team
Terry Crews
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Jimmie Herrod
Sofia Vergara
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Léa Kyle
Heidi Klum
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Victory Brinker
All Judges + Terry

The Champions

Champions 1

For "The Champions", an act that received a Golden Buzzer in the preliminary shows advanced directly to the Final without having to face the Superfans vote.

In Week 1, Mel B pressed her Golden Buzzer for singer Susan Boyle. In Week 2, Heidi Klum pressed hers for knife-throwing duo Deadly Games. In Week 3, Howie Mandel pressed his for singer Angelica Hale. In Week 4, Simon Cowell pressed his for singer Kechi. Finally, in Week 5, host Terry Crews pressed his for sand artist Kseniya Simonova. Susan, Deadly Games, Angelica and Kechi all missed out on the top 5, while Kseniya finished in 3rd place.

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Susan Boyle
Mel B
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Deadly Games
Heidi Klum
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Angelica Hale
Howie Mandel

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Kechi
Simon Cowell

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Kseniya Simonova
Terry Crews

Champions 2

The format for Champions 2 is similar to Champions 1, but this time the Golden Buzzer allowed the act to skip the newly-added Semifinal round and go straight to the Finals. Due to there being one less preliminary round than last time, host Terry Crews was not given a chance to use the Golden Buzzer.

In Week 1, Heidi Klum pressed hers for Norwegian singer Angelina Jordan. In Week 2, Howie Mandel was supposed to have the honor, but Simon Cowell stole it to support dance group Boogie Storm. Howie came back in Week 3 and pressed his for acrobatic dance group V.Unbeatable. Finally, Alesha Dixon pressed hers for shadow dance group Silhouettes in Week 4.

Angelina, Boogie Storm and Silhouettes all missed out on the Top 5, while V.Unbeatable won the competition.

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Angelina Jordan
Heidi Klum
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Boogie Storm
Simon Cowell
(stolen from Howie Mandel)
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V.Unbeatable
Howie Mandel
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Silhouettes
Alesha Dixon

Trivia

  • Since the upgraded format was introduced in Season 10, five out of seven winners, Paul Zerdin, Grace VanderWaal, Darci Lynne, Kodi Lee and Brandon Leake had received golden buzzers, with Brandon, Kodi, Darci, and Grace receiving it in the Auditions, and Paul receiving it in the Judge Cuts.
    • Shin Lim from Season 13 is the first act to break this tradition, after not receiving the Golden Buzzer in either the auditions or Judge Cuts. He was followed by Dustin Tavella in Season 16, who didn't receive the Golden Buzzer in his audition.
    • Paul Zerdin is the only winning act to receive the Golden Buzzer from a guest judge from Judge Cuts (that being Marlon Wayans).
  • Seven out of the eight Season 10 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Four reached the Finals.
  • Eight out of the nine Season 11 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Five reached the Finals.
  • Eight out of the nine Season 12 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Five reached the Finals.
  • Seven out of the nine Season 13 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Three reached the Finals.
  • Seven out of the nine Season 14 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Six reached the Finals.
  • All five of the Season 15 golden buzzer acts reached the Semifinals. Three reached the Finals.
  • Only five out of the six Season 16 golden buzzer acts performed in the Quarterfinals. All five reached both the Semifinals and the Finals.
  • Season 14 sets the record for the most Golden Buzzer acts advancing to the Finals (6), while Seasons 13 and 15 holds the record for the least advancing (3).
  • Angelica Hale is the first act to receive the Golden Buzzer twice on AGT.[1] She was followed by V.Unbeatable. Both Angelica and V.Unbeatable received their first Golden Buzzer in the Judge Cuts: by Chris Hardwick and Dwyane Wade respectively. Their second was given in their respective Champions seasons by Howie Mandel.
    • V.Unbeatable is the first act to receive two Golden Buzzers in back-to-back seasons (Season 14 and Champions 2).
  • Chris Hardwick is the only guest judge to use the golden buzzer twice.
  • Five of the seven acts that received the Golden Buzzer from the show's host (including Champions) have reached the finals (Zurcaroh and Detroit Youth Choir both finished 2nd, Light Balance and Kseniya Simonova both placed 3rd). Dorothy Williams from Season 11 and Voices of Our City Choir from Season 15 were the only exceptions.
  • Among the judges, Howie Mandel has the most Golden Buzzer wins, with three (including Champions).
  • Howie is also the first judge to have his Golden Buzzer acts win in consecutive seasons (V.Unbeatable in Champions 2, Brandon Leake in Season 15).
  • Brad Henderson is the only known Golden Buzzer act that was never televised.
  • Boogie Storm is the first and currently only act to receive the Golden Buzzer from a judge who stole that opportunity from another judge (in this case, Simon Cowell stole the opportunity from Howie Mandel). They are also the first act to receive the Golden Buzzer from the same judge in two different series (again, Simon Cowell, in BGT and Champions 2)
  • Britain's Got Talent Finalist Marc Spelmann would've received the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel in Champions 2 if Simon Cowell wouldn't've stole it, as Howie stated so after Marc's Champions 2 performance.
  • Howard Stern and Tyra Banks are the only regular judge and host respectively who have never pressed the Golden Buzzer for a singer or singing-related act.
  • Season 15 is the first season where all golden buzzers reach the Semifinals.
  • Season 16 is the first season where all golden buzzers (barring the withdrawn Nightbirde) reach the Finals.
  • Seasons 13 and 15 in the Semifinals were the only times that two Golden Buzzer acts were eliminated by the third act in their group. In the former, Makayla Phillips and Amanda Mena were eliminated by another Golden Buzzer act (Michael Ketterer), while in the latter W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew and Voices of Our City Choir were eliminated by a non-Golden Buzzer act (Daneliya Tuleshova).
  • Nightbirde is the first Golden Buzzer act to withdraw from the competition prior to the live shows.
  • Season 16 was the first season that saw two Golden Buzzer acts fight for the Instant Save (Jimmie Herrod and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team in Episode 1616; and Léa Kyle and Victory Brinker in Episode 1618).
  • Light Balance is the first act in Got Talent history to receive the Golden Buzzer on both AGT and one of the international versions of the franchise. They were followed by Zurcaroh (France's Got Talent and Season 13 (Coincidentally, in both instances, it was the show's host that gave them the honor (Tyra Banks and David Ginola)), Emanne Beasha (Arab's Got Talent and Season 14), World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Italy's Got Talent and Season 16), and Light Balance Kids (Season 14 and Germany's Got Talent). If you count Kseniya Simonova (AGT Champions 1 and BGT Champions) and Boogie Storm (Britain's Got Talent and AGT Champions 2) from The Champions, they also fit this category.
  • Out of everyone who participated in America's Got Talent, there are eighteen acts who received the Golden Buzzer on at least two different seasons or versions of Got Talent, those being:
    • Light Balance (Germany's Got Talent and Season 12)
    • Angelica Hale (Season 12 and AGT Champions 1)
    • Zurcaroh (France's Got Talent and Season 13)
    • ADEM Show (Czechoslovakia's Got Talent and Asia's Got Talent)
    • Celine Tam (Season 12 and World's Got Talent)
    • Cristina Ramos (Spain's Got Talent and World's Got Talent)
    • Kseniya Simonova (AGT Champions 1 and Britain's Got Talent: The Champions)
      • Kseniya Simonova is the only act that received the Golden Buzzer on both the American and British versions of The Champions.
    • Malevo (on Season 11 and World's Got Talent)
    • Wes-P (on Georgia's Got Talent and France's Got Talent)
    • Paddy and Nicko (Britain's Got Talent, Germany's Got Talent, and Britain's Got Talent: The Champions)
      • Out of everyone else listed, Paddy and Nicko are one of the four known worldwide acts to receive three Golden Buzzers, with the other two being Gao Lin & Liu Xin and Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh, who have yet to participate in America's Got Talent. They are the second act to reach this in incredible feat. World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, who participated in Season 16, is the fourth.
    • Emanne Beasha (Arab's Got Talent and Season 14)
    • Dania Diaz (Spain's Got Talent (in both the Auditions and Semifinals of the same season))
    • Boogie Storm (Britain's Got Talent and AGT Champions 2)
    • V.Unbeatable (Season 14 and AGT Champions 2)
    • Alexa Lauenburger (Germany's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent: The Champions)
    • Dakota & Nadia (France's Got Talent and Portugal's Got Talent)
    • World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Italy's Got Talent, Season 16, and France's Got Talent)
      • As previous mentioned, this act is the fourth act in Got Talent history to receive three Golden Buzzers. Paddy and Nicko, who participated in America's Got Talent: The Champions (Season 2), is the second, and Gao Lin & Liu Xin and Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh, who have yet to participate in America's Got Talent or its Champions counterpart, are the first and third respectively.
    • Light Balance Kids (Season 14 and Germany's Got Talent)

References

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