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Northwell Health Nurse Choir gets Golden Buzzer on 'America's Got Talent'

The Northwell Health Nurse Choir got the Golden

The Northwell Health Nurse Choir got the Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel on Tuesday's "America's Got Talent" premiere. Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

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.

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