The America's Got Talent judges saw a very special audition on this week's episode from a group called the Freedom Singers. The eight-member group explained upon taking the stage that they are located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row, which has long been known for its houseless population. They also explained that they are part of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, which advocates for those who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. One group member shared her story of being houseless on Skid Row.
"I'm so blessed that I found the Los Angeles Community Action Network because it gave me a voice and an opportunity to rebuild myself," she said.
Another member said the purpose of the group is to encourage others to react with compassion when coming across a person who is living on the street.
"We represent a lot of things," she says. "Some people who were houseless, maybe came to transitional housing, some who have lost folks that are houseless. When we see someone on the street, we want to encourage you not to look the other way."
After introducing themselves to the judges, the group launched into a Gospel-infused rendition of "Under the Bridge," a fitting song that matches their message. The lead singer of the group showcased her dynamic vocals throughout the song as the other members provided perfect harmony. The song kept building momentum as it continued, and it turned into a full jam session as their voices overlapped and many members added their own vocal flair. Towards the end of the tune, the lead singer let out an impressive high note, which caused audience members' jaws to drop. The song ended with one final note from the lead singer.
The audience was clearly enraptured by the performance and they exploded in applause and a standing ovation after the song. The judges were impressed too, with Heidi Klum saying the group has a "powerful voice" and "powerful message." Howie Mandel also commented on their performance and the importance of their mission.
"The unhoused is more than just an L.A. problem. It's a national problem, maybe even a world problem, and you have given it a voice and you have given us a purpose and a message," he said. "This was more than just a song, more than an audition, it was needed, and thank you for informing, entertaining and blowing the roof off this place."
Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell also agreed that the group has the talent needed to make a mark on the competition, with Cowell calling it a "really special audition."
In the end, the Freedom Singers made it through to the next round with four yes votes from the judges.
That wasn't the end of the special moments, however. After the audition, members from the group stood backstage with show host Terry Crews while he told them how meaningful their performance was. The actor/host teared up while he expressed his gratitude to them.
"I want to thank you so much for what you do for the community, for what you do for so many people," he said. "I am completely touched right now, and I just thank you for being here. You're my brothers and sisters. Never forget that."