13-year-old Pentecostal girl wows judges, audience on 'America's Got Talent' with her operatic performance
When 13-year-old Pentecostal girl Laura Bretan from Romania came to the stage of "America's Got Talent" Season 11, nobody expected that she would belt out an opera song, much more do it with such flair and technique.
But this was exactly what Bretan did during last week's pre-taped auditions week. Even Simon Cowell, known to be the harshest judge on the show, gave the young girl a standing ovation after her performance of "Nessun Dorma (None Shall Sleep)," which is from Giacomo Puccini's opera "Turandot."
"I have never heard anything like that in all the years I have been doing this show. Seriously. It was unbelievable. What made it better is the fact that you are such a sweet person. So humble. Not even aware of how amazing you are. Thank you so much for coming on this show. That was really special, amazing," Cowell gushed.
Fellow judge Heidi Klum said Bretan has a special "gift," while Mel B. from the Spice Girls did one better by giving her the highly coveted Golden Buzzer, which automatically sent Bretan to the show's semi-finals. Only five contestants each season can be given the Golden Buzzer (one buzzer per judge), and Bretan was the first contestant honoured with the distinction this season.
After receiving high praise from both the judges and the audience, an excited Bretan told host Nick Cannon, "This is like a dream come true. I have been waiting for this for so long."
Bretan lives in Chicago, Illinois, and her parents are active members of the Romanian Pentecostal community, according to Charisma News. Her musical talent was first discovered after she watched "Snow White" and sang along with it when she was only six years old.
Bretan's mother then helped develop her voice by coaching her at home and getting her involved in church. She started singing at her home church, Elim Romanian Pentecostal in Chicago, when she was eight years old. Bretan's favourites include worship songs, Christian pop, and opera.