This story contains spoilers.
They've made it to the finals: The Northwell Health Nurse Choir, an 18-member troupe of mostly Long Island health care workers, was voted in by "America's Got Talent" viewers Wednesday night to be one of the five acts competing on next week's season-16 finale.
In a tense moment roughly 20 minutes into the show, the choir was paired off with the vocal trio 1aChord to see which of the two had received the most viewer votes. When Northwell Health was announced, the seven representative members onstage, all in their trademark blue medical scrubs, hugged each other and accepted hugs from the gracious 1aChord.
"Most of the time I have advice," judge Howie Mandel told them immediately afterward. But this time, he said, "I just want to say thank you. I just want to say thank you for who you are. I just want to say thank you for the fact that you showed up here. I want to thank you for what you do. And this is America saying a big thank you, and we’ll see you next week."
"I want to say thank you also," chimed in judge Heidi Klum, adding, "It was a tough night last night because there's so much amazing talent on the stage. But you guys did it. So congratulations and keep up the amazing work that you do."
Speaking for the choir, Emanuel Remilus, a nurse at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, told host Terry Crews, "It's just so amazing. I think we came here with a mission, right, to use the power of music to heal the world, and we just get to keep doing that, so we're just so happy."
The choir had reaped plaudits from all four judges in Tuesday's live semifinals performance show for its full-throated rendition of Andy Grammer's "Don't Give Up on Me." Mandel — who in response to their audition performance on the season premiere had awarded the choir a Golden Buzzer to the quarterfinals — told them Tuesday he was "beyond proud. I said this the last time, that I can't separate their story form their talent. And their story is they go out and touch strangers and heal them. And I think with that song you just touched 10 million people just now. And you are healing us."
Gathered from 10 mostly Long Island hospitals in Northwell Health's 23-hospital system, the choir had started its "AGT" journey on the season premiere, with a medley of "Lean on Me" and "Stand by Me." On the Aug. 17 live quarterfinals show, they earned praise for their performance of "You Will Be Found" from Broadway's "Dear Evan Hansen," and viewers voted them on to the semifinals.
The choir was formed last year by the nonprofit group Nurse Heroes, which teamed up with producer Emilio Estefan and others for the "Nurse Heroes Live!" online benefit on Thanksgiving, performing amid a roster of music stars. Subsequent appearances have included the online 75th anniversary event for the humanitarian organization CARE International on May 11, and WNBC/4's Memorial Day special "Side By Side: A Celebration of Service," honoring health care workers and the military.