Cristina Rae had one of the most memorable America’s Got Talent auditions ever. She started out with a powerful rendition of the Phil Collins classic “In The Air Tonight.” Simon Cowell asked her to sing a second song, and she stunned everyone again with her excellent performance of The Rolling Stones hit “Gimme Shelter.” Cristina also opened up about her struggles, including how she was homeless when she was pregnant with her son. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Cristina about how she was feeling when she got Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer.
“I was completely shocked because I know that this is a huge show with a huge platform, and to get the Golden Buzzer not only means that I go straight to the live shows, but it means that I’m getting closer and closer to calling a place a home,” Cristina told HollywoodLife. “I want to be as stable as possible for my son and myself. I have gone through a lot of times when I have had down moments where I’m not in a home or I’m in a vehicle. I’m still shocked. I’ve watched it 3 times today because my son wants to watch it, and I’ve cried every time because it’s been a long journey.”
Cristina’s toddler son, Jeremiah, was right there as his mom experienced this life-changing moment. She revealed what her little one said to her as the confetti fell and what it meant to have him there by her side: “The first thing he said when he came out to me was, ‘Mommy, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?’ I said, ‘We’re winning.’ He’s seen me cry a lot of tears, and he’s also wiped a lot of my tears as a baby not even knowing what he’s doing, but knowing spiritually that his mommy’s not feeling good or something’s wrong with her. I didn’t have anyone else there. At first, I was sort of hurt because I felt like I didn’t have the support that I wanted or thought that I was supposed to have, but I had the supporter that I needed, the person who was actually deserving of this experience was there, and that’s my son and myself. I count it as a blessing because since this happened, we watch the Golden buzzer video every day. He gets his little guitar and we’ll watch the Golden Buzzer video. When it happens, he’s like, ‘I did it, Mommy. I’m winning!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, why do you make me cry?’ I don’t want to cry all day, but I love living in this moment with him.”
Even though Simon asked Cristina to perform twice, she wasn’t intimidated. She called that her “encore.” The singer opened up about the reason she chose The Rolling Stones tune. “I chose that song not only because of the meaning of the song but that song just feels good because Lisa Fischer, the person who sings on tour with The Rolling Stones, actually reached out to me before I even was going to America’s Got Talent,” Cristina revealed. “I had a deep connection with that because the actual legend who served with the group reached out like I’m next in line. She said, ‘We’ll be watching.’ I hope I made her proud. I hope I made everyone proud. I hope everyone knows how much I want shelter, my own shelter.”
At the end of the day, Cristina wants to give people hope. “What my goal is now is just to heal people and help people because people need it,” she told HollywoodLife. “I hope my story helps somebody now because I didn’t have that story to follow. If I can get through it, then someone else can, too. I’m happy that I was able to go through it for somebody else so they don’t have to.” America’s Got Talent season 15 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.