June 8, 2023
JAKARTA – Seventeen-year-old Indonesian singer Putri Ariani shot to international acclaim nearly overnight when her America’s Got Talent (AGT) audition on Tuesday local time swept the reality show’s audience and judges off their feet, leading her to win the highly coveted Golden Buzzer from no less than Simon Cowell and cementing her worldwide “virality”.
Putri, a native of Riau province, was born prematurely in December 2005 due to complications her mother experienced and was diagnosed blind just three months later.
Refusing to be constrained by her disability, the up-and-coming songstress has made her mark in popular culture with a captivating performance, singing and playing the piano during the reality show’s televised auditions, adding a notch to her burgeoning music career.
“My biggest challenge is people look at me just as a blind person, not as a musician. But when I’m singing, I feel like, um, a superstar,” Putri said moments before she took to the AGT stage.
“My dream is being the biggest diva in the world like [American singer] Whitney Houston and to win a Grammy award,” she said in response to a judges’ question.
“I hope that I can get into Juilliard […] for my college program,” she said, referring to the renowned performing arts institute in New York.
Afterward, Putri proceeded to perform her own song, “Loneliness”, which received a standing ovation from the judges and audience.
AGT judge and creator Cowell the went onstage to request a second song from Putri, who once again captivated everyone with her rendition of an Elton John classic, “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”.
“You’re only 17. You write songs, you’ve got an amazing distinctive voice,” Cowell said. He added that her audition was “really, really good. You have a kind of a glow about you”, before pressing the Golden Buzzer and sending Putri straight to the season final.
“You are, I think, one of the best singers we’ve ever had on our show,” Cowell told Putri. Asked why he pressed the Golden Buzzer, he simply replied, “because she’s brilliant.”
A video clip of Putri’s audition instantly became the talk of the town on Wednesday, trending on Twitter and even garnering plaudits from United States Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Kim.
“Congratulations to Putri Ariani for her amazing performance in the United States! You are an incredible talent,” Kim tweeted on Wednesday.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno also waxed lyrical about Putri’s audition, saying that she has made Indonesia proud.
“I would like to congratulate Putri’s parents. It was thanks to you that Putri was able to reach this level. Once again, I am very proud of Putri’s talent and courage,” Sandiaga tweeted on Wednesday.
Her AGT audition marked Putri’s debut on an international talent show.
She won the program’s local edition, Indonesia’s Got Talent, back in 2014 when she was just 8 years old. Four years later, Putri performed at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Para Games at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta.
In 2020, she released her debut album titled Melihat dengan Hati (Seeing with the Heart). Her 2022 single, “Tak Mampu Lupa” (Can’t Forget), garnered 11 million plays on streaming platform Spotify.