54 Y/o School Janitor Richard Goodall DEFIES Expectations Winning Golden Buzzer On AGT

As America’s Got Talent enters its 19th season, it’d be easy to think all surprises have been spent. But when 54-year-old janitor Richard Goodall took to the stage in the season’s premiere episode, his jaw-dropping audition made him an instant legend.

Introducing himself to Simon Cowell’s board of star judges, Richard was clearly racked with nerves, revealing he was a school janitor for 23 years who had lived and worked in Terre Haute, Indiana his entire life. Before his audition, Richard had never ventured west of Missouri, taking his first ever plane flight to make it to this LA audition. But despite his anxiety, Simon showed his soft spot when interviewing Richard, empathizing and saying, “We’re rooting for you, Richard!”

Richard’s first verse sent the crowd into a standing ovation. Singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Richard’s nerves disintegrated beneath the unexpected power of his vocals. His pitch-perfect rendition sparked a party throughout the LA theatre. Richard hit his high notes like a pro, topping his audition with a tone that mirrored the original hit and spurring Simon to kick off the critiques by stating, “Richard, you are my hero.”

With tears in his eyes, Richard received stellar commendations across the board. Sofia Vergara, smiling, told him, “You made our night.” Howie Mandel fired a pun, telling the Indiana janitor, “Maybe it’s because you’ve been doing it for 20 years, but you just cleaned up!” While Heidi Klum admitted, “You knocked me off my feet,” before shocking the entire room by hitting the Golden Buzzer. The tear-jerking moment has already gained a shocking 8 MILLION views on YouTube in only one week!

Richard was visibly in bits as Heidi joined him on stage to congratulate him, and even came backstage to watch as Richard called his fiancee, Angie, to share the exciting news. On speakerphone, she exclaimed, “Oh my God! I knew it! I told you!”

Richard revealed he’s been an avid music fan since he was a kid, blasting his RadioShack stereo so loud his mum would bang on the ceiling with a broom to try and get some peace and quiet. He told Yahoo, “I love all kinds of music […] I love those songs that are smooth at the beginning and have a slow build and then at the end you’re just belting it out.” His song choice for AGT was a perfect example.

Before auditioning for AGT, Richard practiced his singing in the school hallways where he worked, alongside various karaoke shows and stints on local radio contests. But when his wife Patty died of cancer in June 2021, music became a new life force: “When you’re married for so long and they pass away and you’ve got that void there, your biggest concern is figuring out who you are without them […] And music was the bridge again.”

His America’s Got Talent audition marks the second time Richard’s gone viral online — the first being a 2022 clip of Richard singing on stage in an elementary school talent show, which has since racked up over 3M views on TikTok and half a million likes! For more updates and to follow the journey of this incredible talent, you can find Richard Goodall on his Instagram.

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