NEW YORK, NY (August 20, 2015) — To almost no one’s surprise, North Park University alum Sharon Irving advanced to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent last night after giving an electrifying performance the night before of the Oscar-winning song “Glory,” which was featured in Selma.
Irving’s performance capped Tuesday night’s show and led all four judges and the entire audience to give her a standing ovation. Two of the judges have predicted she will win the show.
Irving wept when she learned viewers had voted her into the semifinals. “Thank you so much,” she told the audience. “I do this to inspire people; it’s more than a hobby.”
Later, she posted on Facebook, “Going to TRY and sleep now. Wired and exhausted. Tonight was intense, amazing and bittersweet because I want us all to stay on.”
Unlike most other contestants, Irving only had to sing in one audition round because judge Melanie Brown had sent Irving straight to the quarterfinals at Radio City Music Hall when she pressed the Golden Buzzer. Judges are allowed only one opportunity to use the buzzer.
Judge Howie Mandel thanked Brown for hitting the buzzer because it “was so worthy of her being here.” Brown, better known as Mel B. of Spice Girls fame, told Irving that she already was “a bona fide superstar” and could possibly capture the top prize.
Irving was the final act Tuesday night, and Howard Stern said that the show ended on a “super, super high.” He lauded the singer and told her, “What you just did up there was brilliant,” adding that she not only was the best singer in the competition but possibly also the best overall act.
Irving will win $1 million and her own Las Vegas show if America ultimately agrees with the judges.
Many Covenanters already are familiar with her talents. She has helped lead main-stage worship services at the 2009 and 2012 CHIC events and sang at one of the basecamps at the most recent event. She has sung at other denominational gatherings, including the most recent Annual Meeting in Kansas City. She also wrote and performed a spoken-word promotional video for Covenant World Relief.
Irving has helped lead worship at Willow Creek Church and actually had rehearsed with Common, one of the co-writers of “Glory” and fellow Southside Chicago native, before performing the song there.