America’s Got Talent season 17 auditions continue with Simon Cowell,
Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara on the judges panel. Terry Crews hosts. See the new acts vying for the 1 million dollar prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.
At the top of the show, Terry announces that Howie Mandel is absent due to illness. The three remaining judges will vote to put through acts to the next round.
Travis Japan – Dance/singing crew
Their outfits are very colorful. Simon declared that he LOVES working with groups. They have no idea who wrote their song. So I guess this is J-Pop? The song starts off acapella before they break out the dance moves. This song, about “Hollywood” is pretty cheesy and the singing is mediocre. It’s third rate Vegas lounge material. The dancing, however, is solid.
Simon’s got the biggest grin on his face. Heidi loves their glittery, colorful jackets. “I loved all of it. Super entertaining.” Sofia says “it felt like Vegas.” But not in a good way, Sofia. Simon likes their personalities. But he didn’t love the song. Basically, he thinks they’d be great with better songs. Maybe. 3 yeses
Dino Don – Robot Dinosaurs
Robotic dinosaurs dance while a talent-impaired woman dances between them. This is comedy, apparently. One of the dinos approaches Simon. He tries to fist pump.
Simon says he loves dinosaurs, but the act is terrible. It sounds like the guy is actually legit as far as robotics go, But the presentation was lame. NO
He stands on stage, dressed as a parrot, screeching “How you guys doing tonight” before he’s instantly buzzed. Simon asks for his real name, but the bird continues to PARROT “How you guys doing tonight?” I guess that’s the joke? Anyway, his real name is actually David Safier.
Shenay Kloss – Variety acts/Insects
She describes herself as an “animal act,” a type that has never been on the show before. She approaches the desk with a small box. She reveals…giant roaches which she has named after each of the judges. Apparently they do tricks. But not really. The crowd is booing while the judges freak out and buzz her. “You guys are really mean,” she says.
But Simon liked it and says yes. The crowd changes their mind and cheers Sofia on…she still says no. Simon suggests she come back when Howie is sitting on the panel. – Two nos, Simon says yes.
Ben Waites – Singer
NBC released this audition early. Ben is a Southern gospel singer from Nashville who often performs at churches. Ben was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and bound to a wheelchair, but that bit of info comes from research, not Ben’s audition. In fact, his disability is never brought up. Backstage, Terry meets Ben and his wife. Their daughter is a huge fan of Terry. They have three kids. He performs “True Colors” because it communicates a “message of hope” to everyone. It’s unusual for AGT not to lean on a backstory. But, Ben is a very good singer and would prevail in any case. He builds the song beautifully, with lovely phrasing. His technique is terrific.
Sofia is crying “You made it yours. It was special.” Simon’s critique is kind of stupid, suggesting that Ben lost control of the performance at one point, and then went into “another gear.” He doesn’t get subtly. 3 yeses
Duo Forza – Acrobat Duo
This male acrobat duo (Jose Sanchez and Lian Alvarez) from Cuba were Spain’s Got Talent Semi-finalists. But AGT only airs a little snip of their audition, which consists of the two men hand balancing and basically keeping the other from falling on their heads. The two cleverly and uniquely weave comedy into the act. – 3 yeses
Duo Rings – Acrobat duo with rings
NBC released this audition early, as well. Flor Aracama & Nico Busso are from Buenos Aires Argentina. The two have been together for 9 years, over 3 years married. The acrobatic act is performed with Haley Reinhart’s cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” in the background. “Great song,” Simon remarks. The two display strength and agility on the rings, but add in an element of romance and sensuality. They wind up high in the air. It’s all very precarious. Mesmerizing. They end with a kiss.
Simon is on his feet. “That was amazing,” gushes Sofia. She compliments Flora’s strength. The duo created the entire act themselves, the reveal. Simon notes that AGT has seen acts like them before, but the creativity and originality the couple bring to the stage makes it unique. 3 yeses
Acapop Kids – Kid a capella group
This acapella group made up of kids was c0-founded by Pentatonix (Sing-Off winners) member, Scott Hoying. They signed a deal with Warner Records in 2019. I’m not a big fan of these Kidsz Bop type acts. Even as a kid I kinda hated them. They are singing “My Turn,” by Nolan Gibbons a member of the group who passed away. Nolan’s parents describe what happened. At 15 he died suddenly, without a real cause. Absolutely tragic. The ages range from 12-17. The group’s vocals are polished, perfect. It almost sounds like a track. The inspirational song is both a fitting and bittersweet tribute to a lost friend.
Simon wants to know where they have been hiding. They already have a record contract, they haven’t been hiding anywhere. Heidi loved it. Sofia calls the song beautiful. Simon calls the performance “a moment.” – 3 yeses
Henry and Klauss – Illusionists
Brazilian illusionists hold the world’s record for levitating more than four hours. The two are friends, but they are “mentally and spiritually” connected. Oh. A danger act. A large tin container is full of explosives. Plus the rope will be on fire as they try to escape. Cameras will be trained on each of them inside the barrel. In order to escape, they have to break free of handcuffs. The fire reaches the container. Are they gonners? NO. The two sneak up behind the judges table, wielding their camera’s It’s quite the clever twist. Bravo.
Sofia calls it spectacular. Heidi loved the danger and the illusion. Simon compliments their showmanship. 3 yeses
Erica Glenn – Playwright, Composer
This Hawaii native is a conductor, composer, and performer, in addition to a vocal coach. She is presenting a musical piece she wrote for Simon. We only see a montage of the audition, however. Simon loves it. Heidi and Sofia buzz it. “Beautiful” says Simon. The girls say no. Admittedly, the bits we saw were pretty bad. – No
Adam Winrich – Whip cracker
Wisconsin native is known as a professional whip cracker, and performs at festivals. He holds 31 Guinness records for various wacky whipping categories. Sofia is volunteered to help with the act. When asked she refuses to answer whether she’s had experience with whips in her past. The act begins with Adam cracking the whips all around her. Not that impressive, yet. Next, Sofia swings a roll of toilet paper while Adam shreds it. Eh. Simon has already buzzed him. Next, it’s toilet paper…on a cannon, which unrolls the paper as Adam whips. Still not all that impressed.
Sofia calls her experience “scary.” Simon wonders if it’s a Vegas-worthy act. He says no. It’s up to the girls. They both say yes. – 2 yeses, Simon says no.
Stefanny and Yeeremy – Salsa dancers
Yeeremy was a member of Reyes Del Swing from AGT 2018 while Stefanny Moreno competed in the World of Dance 2017 finals as a Swing Latino member. Sofia is delighted to learn they are both from Colombia. The two bring an interpreter along, which Sofia believes is unnecessary! She even corrects the interpreter over a word she translates. “It’s flavor!” Sofia adminishes. Stefanny was Yeeremy’s dance instructor, and is clearly the star of this duo. She taught her student well. The dancing is fast and sexy.
Sofia yells in Spanish. Heidi calls them her favorite dancing couple of the season. Simon appreciates their showmanship and personality. “A 10,” he declares. 3 yeses
Alex Rivers – Violinist
A Vegas-born street performer. Alex has been performing pop covers with his violin. 24 hours earlier he performed for the judges. Simon hated the track. But Alex didn’t prepare another. Simon instructed Alex to come back the next day with something new. Oh. This is a new twist on Simon’s “I hate your song come back” shtick. Alex returns with a new song, to which he dances energetically while he performs. Eh. So many violinists have passed through AGT. There have definitely been better. If the first song was boring, it must have been atrocious. But probably, it’s Simon doing a thing for television.
Sofia calls him a great artist and a “love bug.” Heidi says, “You came with strength.” Simon believes the track was better. “You put everything into this.” Alex jokes that he rehearsed in his hotel room, and if anyone got mad his answer was “nobody sleeps until Simon is happy!” 3 yeses
Balla Brothers – Acrobat/Hand Balancing Duo
The two siblings are a circus act from Albania currently based in the United States. They both have day gigs! One of the brothers is studying law. The other works as an interior designer. The balancing involves one brother roller-boarding on the other brother’s back. Hard and also OUCH. Meanwhile, he stands up until he is hands free. Strength! Next, one brother rollers on a platform atop the other brother’s head. This is actually impressive. Strength, stamina and balance.
Heidi says they “reinvented the wheel.” Sofia calls it amazing. “It had everything.” Simon wanted something more dangerous than “oranges” in the act. What? – 3 yeses
Wyn Starks – Singer
This pop soul singer who grew up in Minneapolis signed a deal with Curb records only 6 months after he relocated to Nashville. He’s still listed on the record label’s website HERE. He’s dreamed since childhood of auditioning for AGT. Interesting, he claims he’s here because he got laid off from a hospitality job during Covid. His twin brother, who could also sing, passed away. Wynn performs an original song that his brother loved. The song is an inspirational tune about always being yourself. He sings with a sweet tone and plenty of range, and is in tears by the end.
NOTE: The song is titled “Who I Am” and is from an EP, released on Curb, of the same name HERE.
Sofia shares that she lost her brother too. “I love all the feeling you gave to your song.” Heidi also loved it. “The tone of your voice is so different.” Simon believes the performance could be a life changing moment for Wyn. – 3 yeses
Howie is back next week. Maybe the group will choose their golden buzzer, at last.