An experimental treatment gave Christian back his sight at age 12
Christian Guardino brushed off his nerves and blew audiences away with his powerful performance!
The 16-year-old boy from Long Island, New York earned the coveted Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel on Tuesday’s America’s Got Talent with a soulful rendition of The Jackson 5’s 1969 single “Who’s Lovin’ You.”
“You were like a little mouse that turned into a lion. You are one of my favorite contestants I’ve seen this year. Not only in terms of your voice. I just like you. There’s something about you, and it’s just the best possible feeling when we meet someone like you,” Simon Cowell told Christian, who teared up on stage.
And when Mandell asked the singer if he could make one wish come true, Christian said: “Probably the golden buzzer.”
The Golden Buzzer puts Christian directly through to the hit NBC talent competition’s upcoming live rounds.
On Tuesday’s episode, Christian and his mother, Elizabeth, opened up about his journey of being blind for most of his life before an experimental treatment gave him back his sight.
Christian was diagnosed with a retinal disease called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), according to his September 2016 profile in National Geographic. He was cured of blindness after receiving gene therapy treatment and now can see well enough to read enlarged notes on sheet music.
Christian has plenty of singing experience. He has previously performed four times at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
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Mandel’s Golden Buzzer recipient is the third one this season, following Mel B‘s 12-year-old singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer and Cowell’s 29-year-old deaf singer Mandy Harvey. Judge Heidi Klum still has yet to select her Golden Buzzer contestant.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.