“The song, your voices, your ability, I can’t thank you enough for all of it,” judge Gabrielle Union said after the group received an extended standing ovation. “Thank you.”
Before their performance, Green, a retired Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and his fellow singers — Sergeant First Class Jason Hanna, Sergeant Major Christal Rheams and Staff Sergeant Ron Henry — shared a little bit about their backgrounds and the mission of the group. “Voices of Service” is affiliated with the Virginia-based Center for American Military Music Opportunities (CAMMO), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing military members together to share their love of music.
“We’re using this platform to show what music can do, as music therapy for service men and women who are coping with post-traumatic stress, and we just love what we do,” Henry said.
“I have eight combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan,” Green, who occasionally sings a duet of the national anthem at Caps games alongside Sergeant Major Bob McDonald, said in a recorded segment. “One that comes to mind is we were on a ground convoy from one base to another and we averted an improvised explosive device, but the tank behind us hit it. It just tears you up inside, because it could have been your son, it could have been your daughter, it could have been a friend. And we still had to be resilient and do our job."
“Your story is amazing, your message is amazing,” judge Simon Cowell said. “What I loved is the vocal arrangements are stunning. It was a version I’ve never heard before. You’ve all got great voices. You’ve all got great talent. This is what we need right now. Thank you.”
Union, Howie Mandel and Julianne Hough all voted “yes” to “Voices of Service” moving on to the next round of the competition. Cowell made it unanimous.
“You haven’t got three yeses,” he said, gesturing toward the audience before standing up to give the group yet another ovation. “You’ve got four thousand yeses.”
“I don’t think they know how good they are,” Cowell later said to his fellow judges.
Backstage after their performance, Rheams attempted to describe her emotions to NBC host Terry Crews.
“I feel like there are so many people that get to hear this now, so many people that it will help,” Rheams said. “I’m happy about that.”
NBC Sports Washington Capitals analyst Craig Laughlin and host Rob Carlin, and Capitals public address announcer Wes Johnson were among those who congratulated Green on the performance.
“You are an inspiration my friend,” Johnson tweeted. “Your story is moving, and your voice moves souls. I was happy to see you on [America’s Got Talent] tonight spreading love and hope through beautiful song.”