Emotions ran high on the “America’s Got Talent” stage Tuesday night as season 17 of the entertainment competition kicked off with a Golden Buzzer audition, as well as a moving “big brother” moment.
It all started when Avery Dixon took the stage to show off his saxophone skills, which he explained were honed during hard times.
"At the time I picked up the saxophone, I was getting bullied in elementary school," he told the talent panel. "My voice sounds a little bit different and I looked a little bit different, too. My elementary school nickname was Hammerhead, because I have these knots on my head because I’m premature. I was born at 1 pound, 8 ounces. And my vocal cords don’t close all the way, so it makes my voice sound really airy. Students were so negative about my voice."
He recalled one student calling him "Frog," and getting the others to join in on the ridicule.
"They were relentless," the 21-year-old said.
Dixon noted that the constant childhood bullying led him to consider taking his life.
But eventually, he found a way to transform his pain into musical expression.
And the performance he put on proved just how far he's come.
Dixon not only had judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel clapping, swaying and eventually getting up from their seats for a standing ovation, but he had host Terry Crews in tears and reaching for the Golden Buzzer to send the sax player straight to the live shows."There's no need to vote!" Crews shouted as he approached the panel.
With the audience cheering him on, he continued.
"You touched the heart of every human being in this building right now," Crews said. "And I want to tell you, man, you’ve been bullied all your life, but you tell every bully that you have a big brother named Terry Crews — who is here, who’s got your back."
As both Crews and Dixon cried, the host hit the buzzer and gold confetti rained down on the stage.
Backstage, Crews approached the performer and told him, "Your talent did this. You did this! I love you, man."