America’s Got Talent will reveal the season 16 Top 36 when the live shows begin on Tuesday August 10 after the Tokyo Olympics break. In the meantime, here are my picks for the acts that DESERVE to be put through to the lives. Which acts would you choose?
The 6 Golden Buzzer Acts We Know Are Through
After their auditions, the cast chose these acts to go straight through to the live shows. (UPDATE: Nightbirde dropped out of the competition as she continues her cancer battle)
- Lea Kyle – Magic quick change – Heidi Klum – Audition
- Nightbirde – Singer Songwriter – Simon Cowell – Audition
- World Taekwondo Demonstration Team – Martial Arts – Terry Crews – Audition
- Victory Brinker – Kid opera singer – Group – Audition
- Jimmie Herrod – Singer – Sofia Vergara – Audition
- Northwell Health Choir – Howie Mandel – Audition
And as for the rest: Here are the 30 acts that the judges/producers SHOULD move to the live shows, organized by category. I’ve also added acts that just missed the cut and COULD make it to the lives.
The solo singers
- Brooke Simpson – Audition
- Jayy – Audition
- Storm Large – Audition
- Sarah Potenza– Audition
- Matt Mauser – Audition
- Ray Singleton – Audition
The singing category is one of the strongest it has ever been. Shows like these tend to exaggerate and say, “best ever”, but I strongly believe that this year’s vocalists are the best AGT has offered in one season.
For starters, Brooke Simpson is the best vocalist of the season. She finished 3rd on The Voice and her powerhouse audition of Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” displayed once again why she has a chance to place high on this season of AGT. Brooke is as good as powerhouse pop vocalists in today’s world like Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. She is a belter, but also shows restraint with a very good sense of dynamics. She has nearly all the goods of a popstar.
Blues vocalists Sarah Potenza and rock vocalist Storm Large have the experience and are immensely seasoned. I think both were not at their best during their audition But both have proven prior to the show that they are forces to be reckoned with, and I think that is why the show casted them. Storm’s days on Supernova and Sarah’s days on The Voice built up fanbases. Plus Storm has touring experience with Pink Martini. Both auditions were also really well-received by the judges.
Jayy, Ray Singleton and Matt Mauser delivered some emotionally packed auditions and even if they are not the best vocalists, they delivered very “AGT” moments. Jayy emotes beautifully and her “Lost Without You” was a moment of strength like no other. Matt is a crooner who performs with a less is more style and a professional quality not to over-do-it. Ray is an R & B vocalist with a John Legend-like soulful singer-songwriter vibe to him. All are honoring family members and have a reason to perform and I think that will take them far.
Madilyn and Gabriella’s auditions were leaked ahead of their episodes, but to me just didn’t quite make the mark. Heidi didn’t like Madilyn’s audition and Simon almost buzzed Gabriella when she was playing her instrument. Tory would be great on Broadway and is a great singer, but Howie not liking her style probably won’t help her. And on a stacked singing season, she didn’t stand out enough to me.
- Breez Carver – Dancer — Audition
- The Amazing Shoji – Magician – Audition
- Dylan Zangwill – Classic rock singer – Audition
Breez was graceful beyond her years and was probably my favorite dancing audition I saw this season. I’m often underwhelmed by dance acts on AGT, but this seemed more on the level of NBC’s canceled World of Dance, which featured crazy talented dance acts .
The Amazing Shoji showed decent magic skills, but his showmanship is what really captured my attention. He oozes personality and has me engaged. And at 9 years old, that is just a plus.
Dylan Zangwill was the best child singer besides maybe Victory Brinker that we saw. He’s got a powerful voice and although some of his technique may be missing, he’s got all the raw talent.
Peter Rosalita could very well be a part of the lineup as he’s a prodigy and fits the bill for the typical AGT kid singer. But his audition was a bit pitchy, and his tone just wasn’t quite there for me. Comedian Lil Hunter Kelly stumbled in his audition. And although he is likable, he didn’t stand out quite enough next to his father.
This is a deep season for the comedians as well. Cam Bertrand’s personality stood out the most out of the all the comedians this season. His routine was original and refreshing.
Gina Brillon was very likable and a total pro on stage, showing no nerves. Of all comedy auditions, she probably exuded the most confidence. That is why I think she’ll be one of the last standing comedians.
Johnny Showcase had a catchy and laughable song that was one of the most memorable moments during the auditions. This was an AGT moment. From his little entourage to his singing, it reminded me of some of the earlier days of AGT with joke acts. Except that Johnny could sing.
Kabir Singh is the edgy comedian of the season and that could take him far. His material was the most out there and AGT has had some comedians like this make it far.
I left out Michael Winslow due to his fame. I think his appearance may be a one time publicity stunt, but we’ll see. Gerald Kelly was likable, but I didn’t laugh that much at his material. I think the father-son moment of his audition may be a one-time appearance for good TV, as neither audition struck me as super strong.
The preview at Simon’s house seemed to compare Johnny Showcase and The Other Direction, and I think the judges like Johnny Showcase better and I agree with that.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the other comedian’s auditions that appeared like Josh Blue, The Sklar Brothers, and Lewberger even if they have had past fame.
Aidan Bryant is one of my favorites this year. He performed with so much grace. And although I have seen similar routines with the hoop, he is one of the best to perform this type of routine. He’s one of the better aerialists I have seen.
Danila Bim is another very talented aerialist. I hope that both make the top 30. Her hair-hanging aerialist act stands out more, but I think both have the showmanship and talent to make the live shows.
- Dokteuk Crew – Audition
There are usually one or two dance crews, and Dokteuk was the best dance crew to audition. Was this the best dance act I have seen? No. But it stood out when it came to similar acts like kid crews Chapkidz and Beyond Belief, and the Hiplet Ballerinas who seemed a bit low energy. If one of the kid crews makes it, I bet it is Beyond Belief due to their energy.
Positive Impact Movement is a dangerous act. They have to be strong to pull off the tricks. And their performance was fun to watch, because of all the intricate moves they put into the routine. What is happening on stage is very real. And that’s part of the reason why I like them compared to other danger acts.
Hand-balancing has been on AGT for years, and Rialcris is a solid hand-balancing act. They have great strength and were engaging to watch. Compared to Positive Impact Movement, the act may seem lower energy, yet it’s more tense, But I think there’s room for both.
1AChord gave a chill-worthy performance if Coldplay’s “Fix You.” Out of all the auditions, their harmonies were the strongest. I think this group will make at least the semis with their raw talent.
T.3’s audition was Broadway perfection. It sounded like a big choir singing the Frozen hit “Into the Unknown.” This is an act that fits on AGT, whereas it may not on a show like The Voice. I believe T.3 could bring something unique each round of the live shows.
Curtis Family C-Notes, another very entertaining audition, brought the funk. The entertainment level of the act showed why they areanother AGT family band that could succeed much like The Willis Clan and We Three.
Korean Soul was very talented, but the act wasn’t the most original. And Hello Sister while talented, is still a bit raw and could develop their lead vocals a bit more.
Patrick Kun’s sleight of hand was the best this season. His audition was quite mind-blowing. To have that much confidence while performing that close-up to the judges speaks for Patrick’s talent.
Dustin Tavella’s audition was full of tears. This wasn’t necessarily the best magic act. But the storytelling aspect of the act kept the performance very engaging and that’s why I think Dustin earned a spot.
Kevin Micoud brought something new to his magic act with the holograms, and that was enough to keep me excited and want to see more. The judges liked the uniqueness of the act, and I think standing out will make Kevin a part of the 30.
Although Peter Antoniou delivered a solid audition, the set up made me wonder if his act was staged. I thought it was too much of a production and the build up was a bit much.
Pasha and Aliona is clearly a unique and talented act, but I wonder what direction this act would take in the future. Does Pasha have more to bring? Because I can’t see watching this same thing again.
There’s always got to be a dog/animal act, and Alexandra Cote’s act is a good one. It was a no frill dog audition with just her and the dogs. I liked the simplicity, yet sheer talent of this act.
Medhat Mamdouh’s act was another that struck me as unique. A beatboxing recorder player? Yes. That is a talent. Simon was skeptical about the act, but even Medhat made Simon like the recorder.
DFlex was the most talented contortionist we saw out of the auditions, and he also had a lot of showmanship and energy. I think the judges will want to see him again.
Sergio Paolo did some pretty insane juggling. This was one of my favorite variety acts because he took something seen as ordinary like juggling and really elevated it. I hope he’s a part of the top 30.
Canine Stars audition was a lot of fun, but in terms of tricks, I think Alexandra was stronger. If the judges only pick one, I think it’ll be her. The act, which had dogs impersonating Terry and the judges, was something different and funny. I think it stood out enough to make the top 30.
Ehrlich Ocampo wraps up my top 30 picks. His presentation featuring lightwands was impressive. The production value was high, and I think his act stood out when compared to similar acts like Joel Claudio (see below).
Joel Claudio, the baton twirler, was endearing and likable but I think Ehrlich Ocampo could be seen as a similar act, and there’s a higher production level with his act.
Temple London was entertaining, but I simply found other strength acts and variety acts to have more watchable tricks. But martial arts does bring something new to the table, so maybe the judges will put them through.
DFlex’s flexibility was on another level. Scarlett Business in comparison was very presentable, but the actual contortion was something similar to what I’ve seen before. And Roman Kricheli’s act wasn’t the most watchable, with him shoving himself into a box, even if it was impressive.
America’s Got Talent airs on NBC Monday August 10 at 8 pm. The results shows kick off on Tuesday August 11.