This summer, “America’s Got Talent” returns for its 17th season with Terry Crews resume its functions as host and Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandeland Sofia Vergara reconstituting the jury. As in the past, this year’s champion will take home a million dollar cash prize and get to show off their headlining talent in Las Vegas.
In the preliminary round, 138 acts were chosen by the judges to advance in the competition, but they were narrowed down to just 55 to enter the qualifiers. Among those 55 are the six chosen by the judges and Terry with their Golden Buzzer. Terry chose the saxophonist Avery DixonHowie chose the singer MaddieSimon went with the singer Sarah JamesSofía supported the dance group Mayyasand Heidi gave the honor to the singer Lily Meola. On the July 26 episode, the judges and Terry joined in giving the country trio a Golden Buzzer band. Hart Chapel.
Now, in the second round of qualifying, these artists will compete for the American vote to get a little closer to the final. Tuesday’s “Qualifiers 1” featured second-round performances by dog act Amazing Veranica and Her Amazing Friendsacrobatic group Amoukanamasingers Ava Switzerland and Drake Milligancomic singer Ben Lapiduscomedians Don McMillan and Larrabee lacecontortionist Oleksandr Yenivatovsinging group The Players’ Chorusduo of dancers Stefanny and Yeeremyand Terry’s Golden Buzzer saxophonist Avery Dixon.
Follow our live blog recapping Season 17 Episode 11 performances and reviews from the judges for “America’s Got Talent” 1″ qualifiers below:
8:03 p.m. – Prior to the performances, Terry clarified that of the 11 acts on stage tonight, there are only two spots open for the finals and nine of them will be eliminated.
8:05 p.m. – The first act to perform for the American vote was the African Acrobatic Band Amoukanama. They started their routine from the audience and surrounded the judges before going on stage. It was Howie’s first time seeing them since he was ill during their audition, but his joy after their performance was clear and Sofia added that they were better this time. Heidi admired that they didn’t have a choreographer to put their moves together and said they should be proud to do it all on their own. Simon closed his remarks by agreeing with Sofia that they have improved and said tonight they were “a ten”.
8:15 p.m. – The next step was Amazing Veranica and Her Amazing Friends, who were told during their audition that they were one of the best dog acts the show has ever seen. Tonight, Veranica dressed her dogs in little dresses and even included quick-change segments, but otherwise they performed relatively standard tricks like jumping through hoops and walking on two legs. Sofia appreciated that Veranica had so much control with dogs that could have been unruly and Simon agreed, adding that “there was magic too.” Howie called the performance adorable, but also chaotic and Heidi said it was “cuteness overload”.
8:28 p.m. – This evening Ava Switzerland took the inspirational pink ballad “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” in his chance to win America with his powerful voice. The song’s message of resistance and resilience directly touched the hearts of the judges. Heidi was “in awe” of Ava’s talent for dropping so low with her vocals on such a tough song. Sofia said it depends on how connected Ava is to what she sings and audiences can’t help but be moved. Simon reiterated that Ava is “bold” and thought the song choice was brilliant as it “makes a statement”. Howie said she had the guts to be on the biggest show in the country and was an inspiration.
8:38 p.m. – Terry announced that America chose the comedian Jordan Conley as the 55th act, which will perform in one of the upcoming qualifying episodes.
8:40 p.m. – Returning to the stage after receiving four X buzzers from the judges and being brought back to thunderous applause from the audience was Ben Lapidus. He returns as the only act in AGT history to ever appear on the live shows after receiving four Xs. Tonight he put the parmesan cheese aside and sang about pearls and oysters… until until he stops and decides he’s “the parmesan guy!” He ripped his clothes off to reveal a leather outfit and a rock band behind him to unveil a rock metal version of “Parmesan.” Quickly into this remix, Simon, Sofia and Howie all hit their red X buzzers again while Heidi remained on her feet to cheer on Ben. The judges tried to criticize Ben, but the audience was louder than ever and couldn’t stop screaming for him.
8:50 p.m. – Moving from historical re-enactments to comedy, Larrabee lace realized that making people laugh was still what she wanted to do as a career and a job. Tonight, her set focused on “talking trash” about her husband, there in the audience to be roasted in person. She searched the ring he bought her for their engagement and the number of mountain bikes he spent money on instead of jewelry for her. Lace was caught off guard in the middle of a girly prank when Simon hit his red X on her. Simon explained that her set was “downhill” and it seemed too rehearsed rather than spontaneous, but Heidi said she was likeable and charming. Howie acknowledged his great delivery and stage presence, but said his set tonight was less relatable. Lace took revenge on Simon by saying that she said upfront that there was always a man in the audience who was yelling at her. And Simon thought this was funny.
9:02 p.m. – Following his first round audition, Drake Milligan rose to the top of the country charts on iTunes with his song. Tonight he was on a mission to prove he’s no wonder and has more to offer America. His song “Kiss Goodbye All Night” was a high-spirited country rock bop that got all four judges standing in the crowd. Sofia called it perfection and said it was “the whole thing” and Howie predicted it will have another number one on the national charts. Heidi said Drake had the it factor and star power, then Simon called him “the real deal” because of his talent and charisma. Simon and Howie both suggested that Drake could very well win the whole thing.
9:13 p.m. – Oleksandr Yenivatov said he never imagined his continuing training to contort his body would be the thing that would bring him and his wife to America, yet here he is. They got a little spooky and a little silly tonight with their haunted mansion-themed performance and pushing the limits of his body by spinning his legs around his waist in a full 180 from his torso. Sofia called it weird, but crazy that anyone could do what they do. Simon said they really took the act a step further this time and were up to it to do something they had never seen before. Heidi called it “so weird and weird” and said she wanted to see more.
9:23 p.m. – Former NFL stars from The Players’ Chorus impressed at their first audition by defying what is expected of tall male athletes, but tonight their goal was to show even more versatility. Their remixed rendition of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” was a hit with Howie who said they brought a smile to the audience and added that they were all doing great charity work for their communities as people outside of their choir. Heidi pointed out that AGT is the only place where you can see football players singing really well. Simon concluded by saying he “felt amazing” after their performance, urging America to vote for the band through to the final round.
9:34 p.m. – Stefanny and Yeeremy set the stage on fire with a salsa routine on “River” that Sofia described as “spectacular” and “perfection”, but once again Simon was delighted with the red X and brought them out of the stage. He said the act “needed a transition” as it sounded flat and one-note. He called them talented, but said they needed to do more to advance to the final round.
9:44 p.m. – Actor Don McMillan brought his presentation board back tonight to help his comedy about freeway lanes (he said we needed a cell phone lane) and other traffic and tech usage issues. He included a slide on “tech beasts” like the cost of printer ink. Howie called Don a “national treasure” and said America needs a “comedy like this”. Simon said he didn’t like his audition, but admits he was wrong this time because tonight was “smart”. Heidi said he’s memorable because he always has the best time on stage.
9:55 p.m. – Terry’s Golden Buzzer Avery Dixon gave the final performance of the evening in style, dressed up and flashing lights on the stage as he played his gleaming saxophone with Terry blocking off to the side of the stage. He earned a standing ovation from the judges before their comments. Simon ‘promised’ Avery he saw changes in him and predicted he would be a superstar as he promised Carrie Underwood years ago. He said his confidence and talent had grown since his first audition and it was “brilliant”. Sofia said Avery couldn’t do better, then Heidi pleaded for America to vote for Avery.
Which act from season 17 is YOUR favorite at this stage of the competition? Do you think they can land the $1 million prize? Have your say in the comments below and with other fans on our reality TV forum. Also be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racing ratings.