Northwell Health Nurses Choir sings into ‘America’s Got Talent’ semis

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Northwell Health Nurses Choir sings into ‘America’s Got Talent’ semis
Golden Buzzer recipients Northwell Health Nurse Choir were voted by America into the semi finals of "America's Got Talent". (Photo by Tyler Golden, Courtesy of NBC)

Northwell Health Nurses Choir will appear on NBC’s America’s Got Talent semi-finals with the chance for $1 million still alive.

The group, composed of 18 nurses, will compete with over a dozen acts throughout the elimination rounds for the amateur tournament.

During the season premiere on June 1, longtime judge Howie Mandel awarded them his golden buzzer, the rare award given to acts that allows them to bypass judge cuts and send them straight to live shows in Hollywood, Calif. This season, judge cuts, a middle ground between auditions and live shows, were not included with the program.

The majority of the group hails from Long Island and different hospitals in New York’s largest health system.

The quick transition from strangers to family began last year during the COVID-19 pandemic when they originally organized to sing for a nonprofit.

Nurse Heroes, organized to raise awareness for the global nurse shortage and funds for nursing scholarships, was the launching pad for what has snowballed into taking the country by storm. 

“You are the most inspiring moment that I have had in the last year,” said Mandel in June. “Not only for who you are, for what you do, thank you.” The former “Deal or No Deal” host quickly awarded them the highly sought after golden buzzer after hearing the nurses’ rendition of a mixture between “Lean on Me” and “Stand by Me”.

“We love being nurses,” said Emanuel Remilus, of Cohen’s Children Medical Center in Queens. “It is our passion, it’s what drives us.” 

On Youtube, their show-stealing performance has amassed over 1.5 million views. 

The season-opening effort two months ago was matched again Wednesday, when America voted them to the live semi-finals along with four other acts. Two other acts followed via an online vote during the broadcast, and a judge’s vote. Five acts were sent home Wednesday. 

The group, all donning their blue scrubs, performed “You Will be Found” from the Broadway play “Dear Evan Hansen” Tuesday night. The performance reiterated to the judges how galvanizing their story is. 

“I believe that America needs you right now,” said judge Simon Cowell. “The world needs you right now.” 

Upon their announcement to the next round, the group revealed the spirit they all share to keep them pushing forward.

“This is such a huge opportunity for us to be able to represent the nursing profession on such a large stage,” said Remilus. “I just hope that our message of hope really carries us through these tough times.”

“America’s Got Talent” 16th season began on June 1. The program airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8PM and Wednesday at the same time for the live elimination rounds.

Eight rounds of auditions were held for acts vying to move on, while judges can eliminate them any time via a buzzer during the performance. A second round was held before final lineups were made for the quarterfinals at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

The season finale awards the winning contestant a grand prize of $1 million.

Speaking to the judges after their opening performance, Winne Mele, Director of Perioperative Services at Plainview Hospital, said the group just wants to provide some solace for those that need it. 

“We know that there are a lot of us still out there that are hurting,” said Mele. “We’re hoping to just shoot out some joy and some love, and to let them know that we found our resilience, and we’re hoping that they do as well.”

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