Columbus, Ohio (WCMH) – The Northwell Health Nurse Choir were big winners on last night’s Season 16 premiere of “America’s Got Talent.”

The choir, from New York, is made up of all frontline nurses who are not professional singers.

In the vignette before the team’s performance, the nurses spoke about the onset of COVID-19 when New York was at the “epicenter” of the pandemic.

“One patient became 10, a hundred, a thousand, nobody knew how many people COVID would kill,” said one of the group.

“It was crushing for all of us,” added another member about the pandemic. “But the one thing that’s bringing us a little bit of light and a little bit of hope is music.”

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — Season: 16 — Pictured: Northwell Nurse Choir — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

After the choir’s rousing rendition of the Ben E. King hit, “Stand By Me,” the judges showered the group with praise.

Simon Cowell complimented the group’s performance and its post-pandemic message.

“What do I think? We need you, the world needs you,” said Cowell. “It’s gonna touch a lot of people. People are gonna remember this audition, I’m gonna remember this audition.”

Sofia Vergara expressed her adoration for the number’s authenticity and choreography.

“It was beautiful, heartfelt,” said Vergara. “To see how you were moving around and having fun, it was dynamic. I loved it, it was perfection.”

The song choice was singled out by Heidi Klum in her evaluation.

“I had chills when all of you were singing,” said Klum. “It was so beautiful to watch especially the words to the song, you know that we all have to lean on each other. I loved it.”

Finally, Howie Mandel gave the performance the ultimate compliment.

“One word comes to mind and it’s ‘heroic,’ you know, and you know it is, in every way,” said Mandel. “And what a perfect song, ‘Stand By Me.’ You stand by people you don’t know, you watch horror and you watch strength and I thought I just want to stand by you. “

After heaping praise upon the group he stood up, moved to the golden buzzer and hit it, while the audience applauded wildly and gold confetti rained down on the performers in a giant group hug.

About “America’s Got Talent”

“Americas Got Talent,” judges include Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara. Terry Crews is the show’s host.

Undiscovered talent of all ages — singers, dancers, magicians, comics, musicians, ventriloquists and more — appear before celebrity judges who decide which contestants move on in the competition each week. With the guidance of the show’s host, the audience learns the backstories of these amazing people as they strive to make it to the finale, where one talented performer wins a life-changing $1 million prize.

“America’s Got Talent” was created by Simon Cowell and is co-produced by Fremantle and Syco Entertainment. Simon Cowell, Sam Donnelly, Jason Raff, Trish Kinane and Richard Wallace are the executive producers.