Canada's Roberta Battaglia Earns 'AGT' Golden Buzzer
A 10-year-old singer from Toronto earned the second Golden Buzzer of Season 15 of America’s Got Talent.
On the episode that aired Tuesday night, Roberta Battaglia performed a rendition of “Shallow” from the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born that was good enough to convince judge Sofía Vergara to put her through to the finals.
“I feel like I'm just dreaming, but it's actually real life, and I can't believe it,” Battaglia said before going before the judges, including Toronto-born Howie Mandel. “I have big dreams.”
Vergara praised the singer’s “mature” voice. “That's impossible to sing like that at 10 years old,” she said, before hitting the golden buzzer.
Battaglia started singing with her father Alessandro Battaglia when she was just three and has performed in English and Italian at events in Toronto for several years. Her YouTube channel has videos of Battaglia singing hits by Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and P!nk.
AGT discovered Battaglia after her cover of “Shallow” on a Toronto morning TV show last year went viral.
This season’s audition shows were taped at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California in late February and early March. It is not known what the final rounds of competition will look like due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Despite the show’s popularity, singers who have won AGT have typically not gone on to fame and fortune.
Grace VanderWaal parlayed her Season 11 victory into modest success but previous winners Bianca Ryan, Kevin Skinner, Michael Grimm and Landau Eugene Murphy fizzled out. Neal E. Boyd died in 2018. Last season’s winner, singer Kodi Lee, has not followed up with any notable projects.
AGT boasts that its winner receives $1 million (all figures U.S.) but, in fact, the grand prize is about $25,000 a year paid out over 40 years. (The winner can choose to take a lump sum instead, estimated to be a little less than $200,000 after taxes.)
Only one Canadian has ever won AGT – Vancouver-born magician Shin Lim in Season 13.