The 82nd Airborne Infantry Division of the U.S. Army is renowned for its military prowess, especially for its expertise in parachute assault operations and its swift global deployment ability within 18 hours.
Yet, the division’s chorus recently stole the limelight on the reality show “America’s Got Talent.”
Their performance in the renowned competition captivated everyone, bringing the audience to a standing ovation and earning praise from celebrity judges Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell.
The chorus entered in military style, marching and calling cadence to their positions, which bewildered Cowell momentarily.
Staff Sergeant Gilbert led the group, lighting the mood with a simple greeting of “Hey, everybody,” drawing laughter from the crowd.
He introduced the ensemble as the “All-American Chorus” from the 82nd Airborne Division, hailing from North Carolina.
Reacting to their entry, an intrigued Cowell said, “This is amazing! I’m curious, so obviously, this is what you do full-time. What’s the big dream, then, coming on the show?”
Gilbert responded confidently, declaring, “We’re here to win.”
“Wow,” responded Cowell, eliciting cheers from the audience. He then asked, “Who is this performance for?”
In a poignant moment, Gilbert said, “We would like to dedicate this performance to one of our soldiers we lost last week, Specialist Elijah Crawford, and to all the soldiers who’ve passed before him.”
His voice wavered with emotion, and quickly added, “I told myself I wasn’t going to…”
Cowell respectfully acknowledged the sentiment, saying, “That is very respectful. I’m sorry, by the way. We’re all rooting for you.”
The performance began with Gilbert leading a harmonized rendition of a routine cadence. Shortly after, the group transitioned into a cappella version of the Temptations’ hit “My Girl.”
As their last notes resonated, the audience, including Cowell, rose in applause and cheers.
The complete performance by the 82nd Airborne Chorus was broadcast on “America’s Got Talent” on July 11.