The show aired Tuesday on NBC. Reid will advance to AGT’s live episodes.

Tuesday night at a Montgomery church with family and friends, 14-year-old Reid Wilson could hardly believe the golden moment he was seeing — even though he’d experienced it in person weeks earlier.

“It was crazy watching myself on TV,” said Reid, whose performance of Lesley Gore’s 1963 song “You Don’t Own Me” earned a golden buzzer on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

“I felt like I was watching someone else’s performance,” said Reid, son of Capt. Robert T. Wilson of Montgomery Fire Rescue and homeschool teacher mom Kelley Wilson. “I really felt like, this is not real. There’s no way that just happened.”

But it did.

“What a gutsy little kid,” said show judge and executive producer Simon Cowell.

As Reid sang, his mom watched the performance from just off stage, standing with show host Terry Crews. AGT producers helped Reid pick the song. It was one Reid loves, though he’s only performed it publicly once before back in Montgomery at Hilltop Public House.

More: ‘Your voice is amazing’: Montgomery’s Reid Wilson, 14, sings on ‘Jennifer Hudson Show’

“Hilltop was the first place that I ever sang in front of people,” Reid said.

Prior to the show, Reid got help from a couple of other singing competition stars, his 16-year-old brother Ryley Tate Wilson and fellow Montgomery resident and close family friend D.Smooth — both of whom were finalists on season 23 of NBC’s “The Voice.”

“Anything I had trouble with, (Ryley Tate) was there, the arrangement of the song and everything,” Reid said. He added that D.Smooth helped him to improvise and become a better singer.

Reid’s performance on AGT season 19’s episode 6 was so outstanding that judge Howie Mandel thought it deserved an extra reward.

“I was bowled over because I was surprised,” Mandel said on the show. “You’re just a 14-year-old kid from Alabama, so I would imagine myself in your position. You were very nervous. You did come off incredibly nervous. That was a surprise. You know what? That stage is where dreams come true. Do you believe in dreams?”

“Yes,” Reid replied.

“Well, one of them is about to come true,” Mandel said as he stood up and hit the golden buzzer, and then walked up to the stage. Along with a huge shower of golden confetti — some of which Reid has saved in a box at home — this pushed Reid into AGT’s live performances that start on Aug. 13.

“Oh, my gosh. I didn’t realize it was that close,” Reid told the Advertiser.

“Congratulations buddy, you are amazing,” said Mandel, who went beyond his famous fist bump while congratulating Reid.

“I honestly was just up there shaking and didn’t know what to do, so I asked for a hug,” Reid said.

Reid’s mom got a hug from Mandel also.

Calming cow helped Reid to perform

As the judges noted, Reid seemed a little nervous before he began to sing. Backstage, Reid was drinking water and breathing deeply as he prepared himself to go in front of the audience.

“I was just trying not to pass out,” he said.

Fortunately, fellow contestant Kalina Moolina — a TikTok star and former Disney employee who danced on the show in a cow costume — was there for him.

“She, surprisingly, was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Reid said. “If it wasn’t for her, I probably would have passed out right before. She recognized I was nervous and comforted me and was like it’s all going to be okay. That’s definitely what I needed.”

Musical tastes

When asked what artist inspired him the most, Reid said it was the amazing Aretha Franklin. He listened to her a lot growing up, and said her music sculpted both his voice and his taste in music.

“I’d sing her music when I was younger, and obviously it’s not easy to sing like Aretha Franklin,” Reid said.

Besides Franklin, Reid said he listens to a lot of R&B and soul artists, with a little bit of upbeat pop music mixed in.

“Your parents must have great taste in music, right?” Cowell asked.

“No,” Reid quickly replied, and caused a lot of laughter.

While his mom is into mainstream country, Reid said his dad is into classic rock.

“He doesn’t really like a lot of the modern music,” Reid said.

So what would Reid like to do next on AGT?

After such a huge first appearance, Reid is hoping to step things up a little when he returns for live performances. If he has a choice in the matter, Reid said he’d love to bring some extra people on stage with him.

“On my next performance, I would love to have a choir maybe,” Reid said.

A word to fans, friends and family back home

“Thank you guys so much for the support,” Reid said, speaking to his hometown. “I can’t wait for my next performance. Hopefully the results are just as good as my audition.”

Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel covers things to do in the River Region. Contact him at [email protected]