On Wednesday, Season 17 of America’s Got Talent premiered. While the episode was filled with some amazing talent, one contestant stood out from the rest.
During the season premiere, fans were introduced to Avery Dixon, a 21-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, who played the saxophone.
Dixon immediately moved the judges and the audience with his backstory and musical gift. So much so, that he led host Terry Crews to give away the very first golden buzzer of the season.
1. Dixon shared that he was bullied growing up.
After introducing himself to the judges, Avery Dixon shared that growing up, he was the target of relentless bullying throughout elementary school.
“My elementary school nickname was ‘Hammerhead’ because I have these knots in my head because I was born premature,” he explained. “And my vocal chords don’t close all the way, so they make my voice sound really airy.”
Dixon shared that constant bullying led him to a very dark place. He had even contemplated suicide. However, around this time was when he learned how to play the saxophone and it changed his life.
Though he was visible nervous, Dixon went on to give an electrifying performance that had the audience and the judges dancing along.
2. Crews said Dixon's performance 'touched" everyone's heart.
Immediately following the audition, the judges praised Avery Dixon’s performance, with Howie Mandel telling the saxophonist that he “will change the world.”
Simon Cowell even told Dixon that this was his destiny.
When it came time to vote, Cowell barely go in a “yes” before host Terry Crews walked over to the judges table and gave Dixon the ultimate recognition.
“There’s no need to vote,” Crews announced. “Avery Dixon, you touched the heart of every human being in this building right now. And I want to tell you, man, you’ve been bullied all your life, but you tell every bully that you have a big brother named Terry Crews who is here, who’s got your back, and all those bullies are gonna have to watch you succeed.”
Crews proceeded to hit the much-deserved golden buzzer.
3. Crews was 'floored' by Avery DIxon's act.
Leading up to the episode’s premiere, Terry Crews spoke with People about Avery Dixon’s audition, calling it “an incredible, incredible performance, [and] incredible act.”
“First of all, what I was looking for when I pushed my Golden Buzzer, was talent. The story, how many obstacles this person had to overcome, and the talent,” Crews explained. “Because you can have one or the other, but you got to have both to get that golden buzzer.”
4. "[Dixon] did not disappoint," he continued. "I was just floored."
Crews went on to share that Dixon’s performance reminded him of just how impactful America’s Got Talent really is and how grateful he is to be part of it.
“This show changed my life,” he said. “I tell everyone — and my wife keeps telling me not to say this — but I would do this show for free. I would, because it’s that wonderful. We’re giving dreams away.”
“You’re creating overnight superstars. Someone’s life is changed for the better,” he added. “There’s nothing better in entertainment. How many times in entertainment can you say you actually improved someone’s life? It’s so wonderful.”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.