‘America’s Got Talent’: Nod to Dolly Parton Causes Judges To Break Rules, Give Unanimous Golden Buzzer

by Blake Ells

Chapel Hart had an unforgettable performance on America’s Got Talent on Tuesday. The trio has been performing together since 2014. Sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and their cousin Trea Swindle are from Poplarville, Miss., a community in the rural southwest part of the state. It’s not far from New Orleans, and that’s where the girls started their career.

Their first big admirer was Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Gibbons took the trio under his wing, with the girls often referring to him as “Uncle Billy.” He even appeared in their 2020 video for “Jesus & Alcohol.” Check it out below.

Still, the trio had not found their “big” break. That may have changed Tuesday when Simon Cowell fell in love with their performance of “You Can Have Him.” Cowell and Heidi Klum had each already used their golden buzzers this season, but they broke the rules for Chapel Hart. The judges simultaneously smashed the golden buzzer, automatically sending Chapel Hart straight to the live shows. Check out the full performance below.

“You Can Have Him, Jolene” was a track on the trio’s 2021 album The Girls Are Back in Town. It’s an ode to the Dolly Parton classic “Jolene.” The song title speaks for itself. The performance blew the judges away.

Welcoming them to the stage, Cowell noted that he loved “girl groups” of the 90s. Danica agreed that was the best. Their infectious energy got the crowd riled up. By the end, there were chants of “Golden Buzzer.”

The judges agreed. Simon Cowell smiled. “Trust me, I needed you today,” he said. “I mean, that was fantastic. I love you.”

Long Time Coming for Chapel Hart

Cowell asked the girls if they’ve been trying to get a record deal for years.

“We’ve been trying to break into Nashville for the last couple of years, but it’s been kind of hard,” Danica said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “I think country music doesn’t always look like us.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to break down that door,” Cowell replied. “And you may have just broken down the door with that performance, trust me.”

Cowell and Sofia Vergara agreed that if they had not used their golden buzzers, they would. Trea replied in her most Southern drawl, “You can give it a try if you want.”

The judges huddle up, they smashed the buzzer, confetti rained from the rafters and Parton’s “Here I Am” soundtracked the moment on television. Chapel Hart began their careers busking in New Orleans. They played dive bars and dance halls from Georgia to Texas. They recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala. The group met “Uncle Billy” and he lent a hand. They took a shot on America’s Got Talent, and now they may finally have their moment.