STATON: Talent is found in the most unusual places

I often watch “America’s Got Talent” on television and am amazed at the talent I see on the show.

Every year, the talent seems to get better.

I really do not like when people from other countries try out because I think it should remain for American citizens. I have been happy, however, to see some groups from other countries move on after hearing some of their stories, and I always hope they do well.

At the beginning of each new season, contestants have to try out to make it through the first round.

Kentucky, as far as I know, has not had a winner on AGT, but has had a winner on “The Voice,” which is a similar show.

Tuesday night, I was watching as tryouts were being held.

Some of them appeared to be as talented as I would have been if I were to try out. Needless to say, they did not make it past the first rounds.

Others, like so many before them, amazed me with their talents. Some were even sent packing whom I thought should have gotten a second chance.

For those who may never have seen this show, there are four judges and a commentator. It takes three “yes” votes for the contestant to make it to another round.

Each judge has one opportunity to send a contestant or a group on to the live rounds if they are pretty much overwhelmed or in awe of their performance. The commentator also can have one opportunity also. This move is called the golden buzzer.

Those lucky enough to get this ticket know they have made it to the last round automatically by their first performance and have a great chance of winning the million dollars.

I tell you all of this to let you know how in awe I was of a performance I saw on Tuesday.

The group to perform were all dressed in a T-shirt and black slacks. They were introduced as “Our City Choir.”

I came to find out this was a group of homeless people who had been put together by a lady who had a huge heart and love for these people who lived on the streets and struggled daily to live.

Somehow she talked this group into becoming this choir — an amazing feat in itself, I thought.

Each person was given a chance to tell how long they had been homeless. One elderly lady had lived on the streets since she was 18 years old. For many, the streets had been their home for years and years.

This group was a mixture of age groups. Many had been robbed, beaten and gone through many hardships in their lives.

The crowd, the judges, and I were wondering just what we were going to witness since more than one of the performances that night was a joke. Some must have just wanted to have a chance at being on TV.

The lady who put this group together told the audience that they all had become close friends and the choir had been good for them.

She also explained that the choir wrote the song they would sing.

You actually could feel a closeness within the group just by observing them.

One man said he did not think he would be alive today if it were not for the choir.

Then, as judge Simon Cowell often says, “Well, let’s see what you got.”

Before they ever opened their mouths, I found myself rooting them on with my eyes watering.

I was already impressed at the mere thought of someone going out on the streets and gathering up this motley crew and making a choir out of them. I knew I wanted them to wow the judges, and they did not let me down.

Evidently, the audience felt the same soft spot in their heart that I felt in mine. I saw many with tears streaming down their faces.

The motley crew turned out to sing as beautifully as a tabernacle choir.

They put enough movement with their singing to look as if they were dancing.

They were having fun performing, and it was easy to tell they were giving their all in their performance.

The audience went wild, and I stopped holding my breath and started screaming, “Yes!”

At the end of the performance, Cowell rose from his seat and the other three judges followed.

Huge grins with some near toothless rose from the choir.

The vote was taken and all four judges voted to send them on.

Several from the choir began crying, and then it happened — what every contestant dreams of getting.

The commentator started making his move toward the golden buzzer speaking as he walked.

He explained that he had been totally moved from the beginning to the end of the choir’s performance. He was so impressed by the group that he wanted to use his only golden buzzer to make sure they made it to the final performances.

As his hand hit the buzzer, the audience and the choir went wild. The choir was falling in the floor, jumping up and down, crying and one lady had to be picked up.

My reaction mimicked theirs to an extent. I was never so excited for the golden buzzer to be used. I also was jumping up and down, smiling and crying at the same time.

I could not get them off my mind well into the night. I was still in awe of what I had just witnessed.

Like I said, who would have ever thought of getting together a group off the streets and turning them in to a choir to sing on “America’s Got Talent?”

Who would have ever thought they would have received the golden buzzer with one performance? Wow! How amazing is that?

It is still mind boggling to me when I thought of all the reasons why many of them would have been on the streets to begin with.

This group now has hope and something positive to look forward to.

The choir director said some had already made it off the street after being in the choir.

What a beautiful story because one woman cared enough, was brave enough to put a vision to work.

God bless her, and God bless this group to never have to be homeless again after this show ends. This could happen in towns across the world, but who will take the first step?

Sue Staton is a Clark County native. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.