America's Got Talent
season 12 offered a double whammy of a surprise in the fourth week of auditions. A Golden Buzzer was pressed, not in its usual closing spot, but right in the middle of the two-hour episode. The even bigger shocker was that a singing act didn't earn it. Tyra Banks used the power that was given to the host in season 11 and pressed her Golden Buzzer for the dance group Light Balance. It was surprising move but it might also be the best use of a Golden Buzzer so far in season 12.
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Tyra might a be letdown in most arenas when it comes to following up Nick Cannon as America's Got Talent host, but she definitely beat Nick with her first Golden Buzzer. Whereas Nick used his Golden Buzzer as a joke to put elderly burlesque dancer Dorothy Williams through to the Live Show, Tyra picked a legitimately great act. Light Balance is not the most original America's Got Talent dance group as the show has seen many acts who blur the line between technology performance and dance routine. But uniqueness is not always equivalent to talent level and that is especially true with the excellent Light Balance.
Light Balance didn't get presented with the tug-at-your-heartstrings backstory and presentation that all the other Golden Buzzer acts did but they are just as special. There was something incredibly mesmerizing about the act, even if it didn't feel shockingly brand-new. The timing was excellent, the production value was off the charts and it managed to grab the attention the way that few acts have on America's Got Talent, especially dancing groups. Even though the placement of the Golden Buzzer seemed to dismiss Tyra's choice it was just as legitimate as any of the judges' Golden Buzzer acts so far this season.
The way that Tyra really separated herself from the pack with her Golden Buzzer that is Light Balance felt like the first act that really needed it. The previous singers who earned their Golden Buzzers in season 12 deserved them but they likely would have been going to Live Shows regardless. There is no way that talented and heartwarming acts like Mandy Harvey and Darci Lynne weren't going to the Live Shows, even if they had to sit through the entire audition and judge cutting process. The act that actually finished out week 4, adorable pre-teen singer Evie Clair, is a similar lock to compete for America's votes. Light Balance, while excellent, could have easily been lost in the shuffle when it came to the judges' cut but Tyra's Golden Buzzer saved them.
By using her Golden Buzzer for Light Balance, Tyra proved how a Golden Buzzer should be used on the show. A Golden Buzzer shouldn't always reward the best acts with the most appealing backgrounds, it should single out acts who are excellent but for one reason or another might not make to Live Shows. Golden Buzzers should be used on the quirky and unique acts, or at the very least those who don't have such easily marketable talents like singers.
Musicians are always going to have a place on America's Got Talent but the Golden Buzzer should be used to promote and reward those acts that make the show special. Golden Buzzers are best for dancers like Light Balance or magicians like another week 4 hopeful, Tom London. Tyra used her Golden Buzzer to save an act she felt passionate about and wanted to see more of in the future. She didn't just reward an act that was so obviously beloved. It's a small distinction but it is an important one.
But what did you think? Did Tyra have the best Golden Buzzer? Do you think Light Balance deserved a Golden Buzzer? Should a Golden Buzzer be used as a reward or a way to save acts?
(Image and video courtesy of NBC)