WATCH: 11-Year Old ‘America’s Got Talent’ Contestant Blows Judges Away, Earns Golden Buzzer

by Suzanne Halliburton

Judges for America’s Got Talent had no idea that Maddie Baez was in the audience as the summer reality talent show went through its opening auditions.

But during a commercial break, Baez volunteered to sing. Her song choice was “Amazing Grace,” a hymn about salvation. This wisp of an 11-year-old started giving such a powerful rendition, all acapella, that Simon Cowell walked back into the auditorium to check out who was singing. He’d stepped away during the break to grab a drink. Meanwhile, as Maddie sang, Howie Mandell turned around and pointed.

“Wow, look at that little girl,” Mandell exclaimed. Simon, who often gives off a cranky vibe, smiled as Maddie held the notes for “like me.”

The judges invited her on stage and asked her the typical questions. Give your name. How old are you? Are you a fan of America’s Got Talent? This is the second week of auditions, so everyone knows the routine.

“We do ask people in the breaks if they’d like to sing a song,” Cowell told Maddie. “And I was literally just coming back in, and I heard this voice, thinking, ‘who the hell is that?’ And then I see this little thing in the audience, and it’s you.”

Mandell added: “People always ask what happens during the commercial breaks. Amazing things, amazing things happen during the commercial breaks, don’t they?”

Baez told the judges: “I’ve been to many tapings, and ever since I was 4 years old, I would always try and sing for the commercial breaks. And it’s always been my dream to be on the show. And I’m finally here.”

The rest was like magic. Maddie, who initially appeared overwhelmed, began singing. Mandell was so taken by this young girl from southern California that he slapped the Golden Buzzer. That means Maddie automatically gets to skip the first round of competition. Each of the four judges, plus host Terry Crews, gets to choose one act.

Check out this marvelous America’s Got Talent moment. And come back on the other side for more information about Maddie Baez. She’s not exactly an unknown. But although she’s been to many tapings of America’s Got Talent, this was her first time on stage.

So who is Maddie Baez, this new singing sensation for America’s Got Talent? You might have seen her on Selena, the Series on Netflix. She played the late Selena Quintanilla when she was a girl. Maddie also sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” on Fox’s Game of Talents. She performed a Beyonce classic on Kids Say The Darndest Things.

Her bio on describes her as the “Anthem Girl.” She’s performed the Star Spangled Banner for games hosted by Los Angeles-based pro teams including the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, Kings and Galaxy.

After she sang for the America’s Got Talent judges, her father joined her on stage. He explained that Maddie first sang to him when she was three, when he first was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.

“She would sing to me at the hospital throughout my surgeries, throughout my chemo treatments,” he said. “She’d sing to me and helping me get better, and I’m doing very well.”