‘That’s who I put my money on’ [WATCH]

One of the most talked-about acts to come out of this year’s “America’s Got Talent” auditions is Putri Ariani, thanks in no small part to Simon Cowell blessing her with his Season 18 Golden Buzzer. All these months later, Simon is reflecting on the 17-year-old blind singer/songwriter’s audition at the piano and he’s expecting big things for her in this competition. “I would be amazed if she’s not either the winner or the runner-up. I mean, that’s who I put my money on,” he reveals in the NBC video above.

Putri came all the way from Indonesia to show the world her talent, and she performed two songs on the big stage: “Loneliness” and “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” “There was something about her, even before she started to sing,” Simon now declares. “I just — I had a feeling. And I’ve done this a long time. Sometimes you get that feeling.”

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Simon recalls that Putri was “very nervous,” but when she started to sing, “that was it.” He notes, “Within about seven seconds, I’m thinking, one of us is gonna push a Golden Buzzer for that. I think if it wasn’t me, someone else would have pushed it.” He’s referring to his colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Terry Crews, all of whom have the option of anointing one act with a confetti shower that sends them straight through to the “AGT” live shows.

“It was a special moment,” the British judge adds. “I think she’s just an amazing person, an amazing artist, and I think this is the start for great things for her.” The next time viewers will see Putri on the “AGT” stage will be during the live shows, which begin Tuesday, August 22 on NBC.

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The winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 18 will join an iconic list that includes singers (Bianca Ryan, Neal E. Boyd, Kevin Skinner, Michael Grimm, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Grace VanderWaal and Kodi Lee), ventriloquists (Terry Fator, Paul Zerdin and Darci Lynne Farmer), variety acts (Olate Dogs, Kenichi Ebina, Brandon Leake and Mayyas) and magicians (Mat Franco, Shin Lim and Dustin Tavella).

Is Putri Ariani your favorite “AGT” act of this Summer 2023 cycle? Be sure to sound off down in the comments section and in our reality TV forums.

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