The judges on “America’s Got Talent” were blown away by 19-year-old singer Kristen Cruz.
Cruz, who hails from Irving, Texas, has become well-known on social media for her covers of pop, soul and worship songs while making beverages such as iced coffee and smoothies. With 2 million followers on TikTok, her covers have garnered even more millions of views. Her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” has 28.9 million views and 6.3 million likes. Cruz also has a celebrity following, with Ellen Pompeo, Ariana DeBose, and David Arquette among her followers on Instagram.
Stepping onto the “AGT” stage, Cruz said her dream is “to inspire people, to make them feel that you don’t have to be anything else but yourself.”
While the judges were certainly all rooting for her, it was clear that none of them expected the powerful performance of “I See Red” by Everybody Loves An Outlaw that Cruz delivered. The whole panel, including Simon Cowell, gave Cruz a standing ovation. Cowell even gave the young vocalist two thumbs up as he stood.
“Unbelievable,” he said. “Was that really you singing?” he asked jokingly.
Fellow judge Howie Mandel was also blown away. “You open your mouth and you’re on fire!” he told Cruz.
“I want your voice!” Heidi Klum exclaimed. “Me too,” said Sofia Vergara.
“I love everything about you,” Klum added of Cruz. “You are a star already in the making. You just have a real gift you just have ‘it’”.
“The moment you started singing you became so powerful so confident,” Vergara said. “It was unexpected, and it was sexy!”
Though sometimes stingy with compliments, Cowell couldn’t agree more with the other judges. “I was surprised also because we have a lot of overconfident singers who come out here and they’re dreadful … Your voice is what I would call ‘seasoned’”, he continued. “You’re not like someone just starting. Your range, your tone. You have great taste by the way, because it was a great great choice of song.”
Adding in one final quip about Cruz’s social media persona, Cowell told the singer, “You don’t need smoothies when you sing, trust me.”
Cruz unsurprisingly got four ‘yeses’ from the judges and has advanced to the next round.