Heidi Klum Hits Golden Buzzer for an Indiana Janitor on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Don’t stop believin’ indeed

heidi klum golden buzzer richard goodall: the judges of america's got talent, howie mandel, heidi klum, sofia vergara and simon cowell
NBC/Contributor/Getty Images

Season 19 of America’s Got Talent just kicked off on May 28, and the premiere did not disappoint. Most noteworthy of all the performances was arguably that of Richard Goodall, an Indiana janitor who stunned the audience with his voice—so much so that Heidi Klum hit the golden buzzer.

Goodall—who is referred to as “Mr. Richard” by the kids at the middle school he works at—has been a custodian for 23 years, but he’s always had a passion for music and singing. “I was that kid up in my bedroom with the Radio Shack stereo,” he revealed. “My favorite thing was just to sit up and listen to my music, and I just belt it out. Eventually, I was like, ‘I gotta find me a job.’ So, I become a janitor at Chauncey Rose Middle School, which is only three blocks away from my house.”

Not only does he love music, but he’s also incredibly talented. He sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which wowed the audience and judges alike. “That was spectacular, that was fun, this was an amazing surprise,” said Sofía Vergara. “You were perfect to come to AGT.”

“That was special, genuinely special,” Simon Cowell responded. “I think America is gonna love you.”

Ever the comedian, Howie Mandel said, “Maybe it’s because you’ve been doing it for 23 years, but you just cleaned up! I would imagine that every kid who’s ever been in a school with you is just screaming.”

But it was Heidi Klum who was most moved by the performance. “We all had the best time with you up there on that stage,” she said. “I really, really feel something when I see you up there and hear you up there, and now this is what I’m gonna do for you because I love you.” That’s when she hit the golden buzzer.

Goodall, who had never been on a plane before flying to California for his audition, said his song of choice represents his AGT experience. “I tried out for AGT in 2009 and didn’t make it past the first round in Chicago,” he explained to People. “But like the song says, ‘Don’t stop believing!’ How can I tell the kids that and not reach for dreams too? The songs I love to sing are timeless, and they give everyone hope. That’s what I really want to do, just give people hope and encourage them to never give up.”

Don’t miss the emotional performances to come: New episodes air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...