54-Year-Old Janitor Richard Goodall Shocks AGT, Wins Golden Buzzer

As America’s Got Talent kicks off its 19th season, one might think surprises are a thing of the past. However, 54-year-old janitor Richard Goodall’s stunning audition proved otherwise, instantly making him a sensation.

Richard introduced himself to the star-studded panel, including Simon Cowell, revealing his background as a school janitor for 23 years in Terre Haute, Indiana. Overcome with nerves, he shared that this was his first trip west of Missouri and his first time on a plane, having flown to LA for this audition. Simon, showing a rare empathetic side, encouraged him, saying, “We’re rooting for you, Richard!”

As Richard began singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the audience leapt to their feet in a standing ovation. His powerful, pitch-perfect performance turned the theater into a party, with his voice hitting the high notes flawlessly. Simon kicked off the feedback with high praise, declaring, “Richard, you are my hero.”

Tears welled up in Richard’s eyes as he received glowing comments from all the judges. Sofia Vergara beamed, “You made our night.” Howie Mandel quipped, “Maybe it’s because you’ve been doing it for 20 years, but you just cleaned up!” Heidi Klum was so impressed she hit the Golden Buzzer, sending Richard straight to the live shows—a moment that has already racked up over 8 million YouTube views in just a week.

Visibly emotional, Richard was joined on stage by Heidi and later called his fiancée, Angie, to share the news. She exclaimed, “Oh my God! I knew it! I told you!” Richard, a lifelong music enthusiast, reminisced about his childhood days blasting music on his RadioShack stereo until his mom would bang on the ceiling to quiet him down. He told Yahoo, “I love all kinds of music […] I love those songs that are smooth at the beginning and have a slow build and then at the end you’re just belting it out.” His song choice for AGT perfectly showcased this passion.

Before his AGT audition, Richard honed his singing in school hallways, at karaoke shows, and on local radio contests. After his wife Patty passed away from cancer in June 2021, music became his solace: “When you’re married for so long and they pass away and you’ve got that void there, your biggest concern is figuring out who you are without them […] And music was the bridge again.”

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