America’s Got Talent contestant Johnny Manuel won the golden buzzer Tuesday, but not without receiving a little criticism.
While the crowd cheered for Manuel’s performance of Stevie Wonder’s Lately, judge Simon Cowell wasn’t quite convinced. He told Manuel he “missed the point” with the song, even adding that he found it “annoying.”
“I like, Johnny, when you do something we don’t expect, whereas I’ve heard a lot of people sing Stevie Wonder like that,” Cowell said.
He asked Manuel to instead sing 30 seconds of his first audition song, I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston, and Manuel once again delivered.
Guest judge Seal gave him a standing ovation.
“You hit notes that I could only dream of,” Seal said. “Simon said to you, give me something acapella, and you didn’t flinch, you just gave an incredible rendition.”
And that rendition won him Seal’s golden buzzer.
Watch the whole audition below: