Air Force Academy singing group performs on ‘America’s Got Talent’

LOS ANGELES — An a cappella group from the Air Force Academy got a standing ovation when they took their talents to “America’s Got Talent.”

The 16-singer group, known as In The Stairwell, took the stage in front of judges Howie Mandel, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell, and thousands of viewers on Tuesday night.

The men took the stage in traditional military style and put their own spin on One Direction’s song “Drag Me Down.”

The group was founded in 2004 and came up with the name because freshmen were restricted to only singing in the stairwells of the academy.

“Because we’re military and we’re being trained to be leaders, music has been a way for us to just have fun together,” the group added when asked why they sing together.

Although the crowd and two of the judges were on their feet, not all of the judges were impressed.

“First and foremost, I can’t thank you enough and I respect and adore you for your service,” Mandel said. “But just talent alone, I’ll be totally honest with you, it bored me.”

“You’re not booing him loud enough,” Cowell said as the crowd loudly booed Mandel for his criticism.

“I wasn’t bored. What you guys did with the harmonies you made it feel so full and fresh and new and I liked that,” Mel B responded.

Cowell followed with some constructive criticism.

“I did think the choreography was too much,” Cowell said. “However, I think people are really really gonna like you. [You have a] lot of work to do but [viewers] gonna like you.”

They made it through to the next round with a yes from Cowell, Mel B and Klum, and a no from Mendel.

“I know everyone at the Academy was excited that they had been selected to be on the show,” Air Force Academy spokesman Meade Warthen told the Colorado Springs Gazette.

“We feel they represent the best and the brightest of the cadets that we have here at the Academy.”