Long Island's Northwell Health Nurse Choir earned a spot in the finals of "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night, as the 18 front line nurses from 10 local hospitals wowed the judges on the season-16 premiere.
"One word comes to mind, and it's 'heroic,' " judge Howie Mandel told the choir members moments before hitting the Golden Buzzer to send them straight to the live shows later this season. The nurses — including Deer Park born-and-raised Christian Montanez, 29, and Winnie Mele, 64, who has lived in Westbury since 1987 — performed a medley of singer-songwriter Bill Withers' 1972 R&B hit "Lean on Me" and Ben E. King's 1961 "Stand by Me," composed by King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
"It was beautiful, heartfelt … it was dynamic. … It was perfection," extolled judge Sofía Vergara.
Judge Heidi Klum told the choir she "had chills when all of you were singing."
And judge Simon Cowell said, "The world needs you. … People are going to remember this audition. I'm going to remember this audition."
The year-old amateur choir shot their audition April 12 in Los Angeles.