After nine weeks of auditions, 55 candidates are ready to compete for a place in the final. Eleven competitors will complete each of the five qualifying rounds, two of which will leave the competition at the end of Wednesday’s results.
VOTE: To vote for your favorite number, download the official America’s Got Talent phone app from the Apple Store and Google Play, and/or vote at nbc.com/activate. All voting methods CLOSE Wednesday 7 a.m. ET.
Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara sit on the panel, while Terry Crews hosts.
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Bayley Graham – tap dancer
Bayley’s accent is so thick he could use closed captions. He shouts enthusiastically as he dances. It is good. In this new routine, he works a few steps, before getting the audience to applaud with his tapping. It does a triple screen thing. This act is well staged, we can easily imagine it on a Broadway or Las Vegas stage. More Broadway, though.
Heidi thinks he has charisma and showmanship. Howie agrees. “This stage is lucky to have you. Vote America! Sofia thought it was cool that he danced to Ed Sheeran. Simon calls it ‘disappointing’. Um. He was looking for a great finish. And a bigger staircase. So ok.
Acapop! – Acapella children’s group
These children were discovered by Scott Hoying of Pentatonix. Again, they will sing an original song. Like XOMG Pop, it is a group of young children. But they don’t hurt my teeth. For a group of young people, their vocal styles are mature. This new song is called “Glow”, maybe. Uh. Howie rang them? Why? He will have to explain himself. They should NEVER buzz children. And on the live stage, NO ONE should be buzzed.
Howie says he felt like he was at a school assembly. Definitely. Heidi disagrees and is full of compliments for the post and the solo performances in particular. Sofia liked their audition more, but she realizes that what they are doing is difficult. Simon thought they had improved after the buzz. He didn’t like their style or their choice of song. But he thinks they have a lot of raw talent.
Jannick Holste – Magic and dance
Last time Jannick danced to Heidi’s single making her dancers appear and disappear. It’s a promising and even bigger dance party this time. He dreams of writing a song with Heidi. Hmm. He comes down on stage in a ball of glitter. The act is pretty much what it did before, but with higher production values. I guess dancing combined with magic is an unusual thing? The magic itself is not so impressive.
Are the judges up? Hmm. Heidi calls it “everything…it’s the best magic number…the best dance number…you’re so funny.” Simon compares it to a cream cake. “Too much cream in the cake. The cake is the magic, the dance is the cream. “The dancing was awful.” Howie calls it corny and corny, but thinks Simon needs to lean into it. Sofia says, “You are great.
Lee Collinson- Singer
Lee came from England to sing in America. Her mother is her biggest supporter – the panel called her after her audition last time. He sings “Flowers” by Lauren Spencer-Smith. His interpretation of this song is very raw, almost conversational. His voice falters at times, but it works in this emotional setting. I might prefer this version to Lauren’s because it’s less dramatic and more heartfelt. Lauren tends to chew up the landscape.
Simon likes it, but he doesn’t like it. “It was like reading a letter.” Yes, her conversational singing made the performance more poignant. Howie calls the song choice boring. Heidi liked it. “It was different.” Sofia calls him adorable. But the song was disappointing. I disagree with everyone. His performance was moving.
Jack Williams – ventriloquist
He struggled as a performer until he hit social media. But ventriloquists are supposed to perform live, he says. He has a new puppet this week, named Dale. He’s like a hillbilly… or something like that. Oh, wait a minute. His puppet from the last time is in a corner, causing trouble. “Terry Fator is crying right now.” He does a trick where he and the puppet appear to be talking at the same time. Here’s the thing, technically, Jack is a good ventriloquist. But he needs a partner to help him write his songs. He is confused and weird.
Howie thinks it lacks originality. “I wasn’t blown away, but you’re really good.” Heidi thought the voices sounded mostly alike. Sofia loved it. Simon thought he had stepped up this time. “That was really smart…funny…it was the best act of a mile tonight.” If Jack steps forward and Celia doesn’t, I’ll cut a b.
Metaphysics – Deepfake Technology
The act is a company that develops “deepfake” technology. Last time they brought in Daniel Emmet to sing and with their technology it looked like Simon was singing. This week, Simon, Terry, Howie, sing Nessun Dorma. It’s so scary. It’s triple the Uncanny Valley this time. Because it looks ALMOST real. But somehow alien. Daniel came back, but I don’t know who the other two singers are. Terry’s guy is black too.
Simon is almost speechless. “Not the best act of the night…it’s the best act on the show!” Howie says “It’s like Il Divo, but Il stupido. He jokes that they used his real voice. Heidi calls it an “epic moment.” Sofia calls it “scary” and “fascinating”. They promise to bring the greatest rock band of all time next time, and maybe Heidi and Sofia will sing. Viewers can vote them down just to see what happens next.
The lazy generation – comic pranks
The band is the UK version of Jack ***, if you like that sort of thing…and Simon is. They begin in tutus to dance to the nutcracker, then rip them off as if to say, “Nothing that gay s*** here.” The rest of the routine is a bunch of random pranks that seem to hurt. They are playing tug of war on a cactus garden, which brings Simon to his feet. It’s awful.
Simon says, “I thought it was beautiful.” He calls it a step forward, and not to everyone’s taste. Sofia rang them. “It’s unnecessary pain.” Howie calls it “nuts”. Heidi calls it a hot mess, but admits she couldn’t look away.
Merissa Beddows – Opera, Singing Impressions
Merissa has been doing characters since she was little, but as she got older she sang opera. Oh. She tells the story of her mother. She is very sick. Merissa started a GoFundMe for her.
She performs her impressions, but without the gimmicky cube and the judges’ involvement, which Simon didn’t like. The gimmick added humor to his act. Now this is just a series of impressions. which are very good! But that won’t propel her into the final. She needs comedy.
Sofia would have liked to create a “little story” like during her audition. She’s right. Simon didn’t like his video package. “We don’t know you properly.” Marissa says it means “the whole world to me. I haven’t had a better experience than this.” Simon thinks it’s better than his audition. Howie said that without the stuff, he didn’t recognize some of the impressions. I recognized them all, but Howie is right.
Harper – Heavy Metal Singer Kid
His AGT metal audition got over 20 million views. Also, she hated metal music until she started singing it. This time, she takes over the metal style “Bad Habits” of Ed Sheeran. It’s actually quite funny. The kid is having a blast up there. It’s not great, but she puts everything into it.
Howie thinks there’s an audience for what she does. Heidi doesn’t like death metal, but Harper is fascinating to watch. Simon enthused, “I loved that performance.” He liked her personality and her song choice. It’s something people are going to talk about, and he likes it. “You are brave.”
Mike E Winfield – Comedian
He joked that he was married to an older woman with a son close to his age. He says his mother died two years ago of cancer. No actor has yet qualified for the final. He arrives wearing comically large sunglasses. No more “handsome” jokes. These jokes are slightly funny, but he’s comfortable on stage. He is in “the zone”.
Heidi thinks he could be the comedian to qualify for the final. Sofia hopes people will vote for him. “Your jokes are so on point. Simon describes the evening as “strange” and that he finally brought “a star quality”. He adds: “I think America will take you to the final.” Howie says if he doesn’t make it to the final, he’s asked to open for him on a date. The judges push Mike hard.
Lily Meola – Singer-songwriter – Heidi Klum Buzzer
Lily had a major label deal, then her mom got sick and she dropped everything to take care of her. The thoughts collapsed after that. When her mother died, a butterfly landed on her face. She even has a video of it. She wrote tonight’s song “Butterfly” just a few weeks ago. Lily is not the best singer in the contest, but she is a solid composer. She wrote the song recently, without having time to work with the co-writers. It’s impressive. But I’m not sure she’s done enough to move on.
Heidi hopes to see her in the final. Simon considers singing originals a risk. “100% the right decision.” He thinks this song is better than his hearing. Sofia calls it “always emotional”. Howie doesn’t think the song blew the roof everywhere. And he thinks that’s what she had to do.