Middle School Janitor Richard Goodall Wows on 'America's Got Talent'

"The kids would hear me sing, and they tell me that I've got talent. That's why I'm here. That's why I got on a plane," Richard said.

Melissa Willets - Author

Jun. 4 2024, Published 11:16 a.m. ET

Fans of America's Got Talent have most certainly been treated to their fair share of "wow" moments over the course of the reality competition's 19 seasons.

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But a middle school janitor from Indiana just may have topped them all on the debut episode of the addictive new season.

Let's get to know Richard Goodall, and why he earned the season's first Golden Buzzer.

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Who is Richard Goodall from 'America's Got Talent'? Well, he never stopped believing.

Upon taking the stage and belting out a jaw-dropping version of Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin,'" let's just say that the judges were left in awe by Richard's performance.

It turns out that the janitor was encouraged to attend the AGT auditions because of his students.

"The kids would hear me sing, and they tell me that I've got talent. That's why I'm here. That's why I got on a plane," Richard told host Terry Crews before taking the stage.

Soon, Terry was jumping up and down with excitement at how talented Richard is.

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Richard even managed to win over hard-to-impress judge Simon Cowell, who told the Indiana native, "Richard, you are my hero."

Likewise, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum had kind words for the clearly-overcome contestant.

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"I would imagine that every kid that has ever been in a school with you is just screaming. I just think you're amazing," Howie gushed, while Heidi said, "Richard, Richard, Richard, you knocked me off my feet. I mean, we all had the best time with you up there on that stage. I really, really feel something when I see you up there and hear you up there, and now this is what I'm going to do for you because I love you."

Richard Goodall won the season's first Golden Buzzer.

Heidi was so impressed with the janitor with the soulful voice that she pressed the Golden Buzzer, sending Richard on to the live show portion of the competition.

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Fans felt the honor was very deserved, with many taking to social media to praise the unexpected star. "One of the best performances I've ever seen," one person enthused.

"Can’t wait to see what he does next," encouraged someone else.

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"You absolutely deserved that Golden Buzzer. I can't wait to see where this next journey takes you. Spectacular performance and you have made Indiana proud. Perfect timing for this amazing song," a fan commented on Richard's social media.

It's important to point out that the Golden Buzzer isn't something given out to just anyone.

According to the official rules, each judge on Season 19 can give out two Golden Buzzers throughout the season, and Terry can award one.

“When we first got note of the Golden Buzzer, originally, I thought, ‘Wow,’” Howie told Us Weekly. "There are moments where you just go, ‘Wow,’ and your jaw just drops on that desk and you don’t know how to express it and the power of being able to say, ‘Wow,’ with your hand on a Golden Buzzer and push somebody right to the live shows was amazing.”

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