Standing on the stage with 10 other acts, the 15-year-old country singer was visibly emotional as she waited to hear her fate. Just the night before, the show’s judges had given her mixed reviews on her performance — especially Howie Mandel, who told her he wasn’t sold on Kenadi’s original song.
But in the end, it came down to the viewers’ votes. And the aspiring country star from Logan was the first act to be pushed through to the semifinals on Wednesday night’s episode.
“I can’t believe this! Thank you so much for your votes. It means so much to me,” Kenadi said as she started to cry.
“First of all, I knew America would see that sparkle in you,” said Heidi Klum, who defended the singer Tuesday night against Mandel. “And they would see that you had that special something and Howie was wrong and you were right by singing a song that you wrote. So kudos to you. Always stick to your gut. Always listen to yourself and just go for it.”
Country duo Broken Roots, spoken word artist Brandon Leake and the singer Celina were the other three acts from Tuesday night to move on to the semifinal round based on viewer votes. The acrobatic act known as the Bello Sisters also moved on, thanks to the judges.
After the episode aired, Kenadi posted a video on Facebook, thanking friends, family and fans for their support.
“When I was on that stage, I was just so grateful to be that far,” Kenadi said in the video. “I am very emotional right now, like I just keep crying out of nowhere. … I promise I’ll work hard, and I want to make you guys proud next round, so I’m going to get right to work and just make it up to you guys for giving me this beautiful opportunity.”
The semifinals air Sept. 8 and 15. The round will feature 22 acts — 20 who were pushed forward based on viewer votes, and two wild cards selected by the judges.