There’s no stopping 10-year-old Canadian singer Roberta Battaglia.
Not only did she receive tremendous praise from Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell, but Modern Family star Sofia Vergara rewarded the young contestant with the golden buzzer — which can only be pressed by each judge once, per season. The golden buzzer allowed Battaglia to advance directly to the quarterfinals from the auditioning round.
At the time, Battaglia broke down in tears as she was covered in golden confetti and Vergara, 47, rushed to the stage to embrace her.
“You are so amazing. You were so good,” Vergara said.
“It shows your strength that you’ve come all the way from Canada to be here,” Cowell added. “We are honoured to have you as our guest.”
On Tuesday night, Battaglia did not disappoint, though she did appear slightly nervous in the close-ups. (After all, she is only 10 years old.)
“I want her to win!” shouted Vergara after her latest performance. “You have a special place in my heart. It was my first day at work (when I pressed the golden buzzer). I cannot believe how spectacular you sing. It’s like, I think the world is going to open up for you after this experience.”
Pop star Kelly Clarkson, filling in for Cowell as he recuperates following a severe back injury, had nothing but praise for the young girl.
“You’re incredible. I cannot believe your age,” she said. “Like, even if you are 27 and sound like that, your tone is so beautiful and it’s effortless. I can’t even wait to see what you do for the rest of your life. Obviously, it’s gonna be singing, but all the potential you have is insane. Congratulations. America, vote for her.”
Fellow Canuck Mandel said he was “proud” of Battaglia.
“You blow me away,” he said. “I said to Sofia right after that, I think that you have a good chance of winning this whole season.”
This year’s winner will win US$1 million in prize money, and the worldwide fame that comes along with it.
— With files from Adam Wallis