"It feels so awesome to know that a famous person is in your corner," the singer, who is blind and has autism, told PEOPLE of having Heidi Klum's support after her live show performance
The 27-year-old singer, who previously won judge Heidi Klum's Golden Buzzer, was the closing act during the first live show of season 18 on Tuesday night. She wowed both the crowd and the panel of judges with her vocals as she belted out Foreigner's "I Wanna Know What Love Is."
Speaking to PEOPLE backstage after her performance, Darcangelo raved about how "awesome" it felt to have Klum, 50, support her throughout this exciting journey.
"I feel like Heidi is my best friend now," she said. "She is somebody that I can ask for advice. It feels so awesome to know that a famous person is in your corner."
The singer, who is blind and has autism, also opened up about another major source of support in her life: her boyfriend, who she said is also "on the spectrum."
She told PEOPLE that he inspired her song choice for the live show performance and that she "dedicate[d]" her performance to him.
"Before he came into my life, I knew that people loved me, but I didn't know how to trust it," she explained. "Because I had a lot of trust issues growing up, and I often felt unloved. People wanted to include me in things, but because of my disabilities, they didn't know how to include me. And my boyfriend is one of very few people who I felt has done it right."
"And when someone does it right, then you start to wonder what it's like to dive into the ocean, into the scary ocean of what love is all about," she added. "Before, I thought love was this scary thing that I didn't want to swim in."
Darcangelo explained that, to her, singing is really about "showing people the heart behind the song." She said she has a "message" in every song she sings.
In addition to Klum, Darcangelo's performance on Tuesday wowed the other judges. Simon Cowell said she "nails it" everytime, declaring, "The way you sang it, the whole song took on a completely different meaning for me."
Of his support, Darcangelo said: "It feels lovely to hear from Simon because he's so cool and he picks up on a lot of musical things ... it felt like I [was] good enough."
Darcangelo was first introduced to audiences in July during her show-stopping audition. The singer spoke about growing up blind and with autism, and detailed how she was adopted by her after-school music teacher, Wil.
After giving away her Golden Buzzer, Klum told PEOPLE of Darcangelo's audition, "I immediately felt a connection with Lavender and I knew that I wanted to be her biggest cheerleader in this competition."
Darcangelo also added at the time: "When Heidi gave me the Golden Buzzer, I was in shock because a small part of me realized, 'Wait, maybe I deserve this!'"
"It makes me so relieved because I start thinking, 'Wow, what's possible out there for me?' It makes me question all the things that I thought I couldn't do," she continued. "If the world is willing to be accommodating and compassionate to me, then what more potential do I have that I don't know about? How far can I go when being authentic?"
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Fans will find out if Darcangelo is one of two viewer-voted contestants to move onto the season 18 finale when the America's Got Talent results show airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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