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.
Howie Mandel is still out sick–for part of the episode.
Amoukanama – Acrobats
A Guinea-based circus company. The group aims to bridge Europa (Belgium) and West Africa, and use the circus as a form of creating connection. The group leader describes life in West Africa as difficult. They want to make life better for their families. They’d also like to build a training school for their group. They combine acrobatic tricks with African dance, using unusual props. Visually, the act is unique and high energy. For the last trick, they build two human towers that collapse into the middle of the stage. It’s thrilling!
Heidi loves it. “It looked crazy insane.” Sofia liked the “suspense.” Simon thinks the group really gave themselves a shot amid all the talent vying for spots in the live shows. 3 yeses
Sam Cieri – Singer
Sam also fronts an alt-rock band called The Nicotine Dolls, which has 419K followers on Tik Tok. He also starred in the 2nd national tour of the Broadway award-winning show, Once. Sam has made music his entire life, he says, and it’s finally paying his bills. He hopes to continue the trend. His voice is really really raspy and unique. He doesn’t have much range, but he sings passionately. The song is an original.
Heidi calls him special. Sofia thinks he’s sexy. “It’s like you swallowed a great singer,” says Simon, who also calls him “authentic.” – 3 yeses. There are so many interesting singers this season, Many of them won’t make it to the lives.
Wenzl McGowen – Saxophonist
Saxophonist was born in Spain and based in Brooklyn, NY. He had a viral song called “Traffic Cone Jam” along with his subway formed group called Moon Hooch. His schtick is playing the sax with a traffic cone stuck in it. It sounds like a tuba played that way. Kind of pointless? Simon instantly buzzes him. “I didn’t like it very much,” he says. However, Sofia and Heidi say yes! 2 yeses 1 No
Maytree – Acapella Quintet
Korean Acapella group that often covers soundtrack and sound effect type music. The group has been competing in worldwide competitions for years. They most notably went viral on Youtube with a Squid Game video at the height of the show’s popularity. The leader formed Maytree after being kicked out of another group. “This completes my revenge,” he quips about why his group auditioned for AGT. Oh. They perform TV themes, including The Simpsons, Modern Family, Cheers. It’s totally novelty time, but they are very good singers.
Simon calls them “brilliant.” Heidi compliments their harmonies. “I loved it.” Sofia calls them super-creative and clever. “People are going to remember this,” adds Simon. 3 yeses Off stage, they sing the Brooklyn Nine-Nine theme just for Terry.
Ballet After Dark – Ballet group
Ballet After Dark has a huge impact in Baltimore, Maryland where they offer dance therapy to survivors of various levels of violence. The group was founded by Tyde-Courtney Edwards who is a trained ballerina, art model, and survivor of sexual assault. We only get a glimpse of their routine, but the point isn’t to be great dancers. The group really serves a purpose.
Simon calls them powerful. Heidi calls it “joyful” and “entertaining.” – 3 yeses
Svitlana Rohozhyna – Aerielist
Svitlana, a Ukrainian aerialist based in Las Vegas, was a highlight act of the “the famous EXTRAVAGANZA SHOW, The BUDDHA BAR and LA BOUCHE THE SHOW,” but now performs solo. She specializes in an aerial chandelier and rope acts. She recently brought her mother and sister to America. But her dad is serving on the front line of the Russia/Ukraine war. She dedicates her performance to him. She is pulled up by a chandelier-like contraption and performs acrobatic tricks while in the air. She finishes the routine, being pulled up by one foot while demonstrating impressive flexibility. She’s graceful and strong.
Heidi is sure her country is proud. “You’re so strong and so graceful–and sexy.” Sofia says, “You didn’t miss a beat.” Simon calls it “incredible to watch–stunning.” He thinks she has star quality. 3 yeses She Facetimes with her dad in Ukraine afterward.
Jack the Whipper – Whip-cracker/Circus performer
Jack Lepiarz is the son of a circus performer. His day job is an anchor, producer, and news director for WERS 88.9 FM in Boston. He also performs a variety of circus-type performances across the US including whip-cracking. That’s quite a combo. He’s a storyteller, as well as a whip cracker. He’s slicker than the whipcracker from last week. Unfortunately, Simon buzzes him. Jack planned to use Howie in his act, but in his absence, the crowd shouts for Simon. Jack places a thin stick between Simon’s legs. One wrong crack? And well, you know. Simon’s swear is beeped. I think he used the S word.
Simon decides to take his X away, saying yes in a mocking high voice. I smell a set up! – 3 yeses
Sing Harlem – Choir
The group, headed by Vy Higginsen, has appeared on various shows across America like The View, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and more. They have performed with SZA, Sting, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, Alessia Cara, Lykke Li, Chance the Rapper, and Madonna.” American Idol season 18 winner, Just Sam, has also performed with them. They perform “Free Your Mind” along with choreography moves. They are very enthusiastic, but it’s all very high school Glee club. Simon is “on the fence.” He wants to hear something a little more choir-like. They sing Amazing Grace without the track. The second song is a much better showcase for their beautiful harmonies.
Simon is impressed. He calls the male teen “a little star.” Heidi loves their harmonies and energy. Sofia calls it “beautiful to watch.” Simon says yes, but he’s not a fan of their song arrangements. Don’t take them too far away from the originals, he says. – 3 yeses
HOWIE RETURNS! Now, the panel is back to four votes. He’s feeling “1000 percent better.” (He had the ‘Rona).
John Glenn High School Dance Team – High school Kick Dance/Pom Team
Pom dance crew from Bangor Township, Michigan that specializes in high kick. The group is the winner of High Kick 2021 competition. For tonight’s performance they’re all wearing bald caps. Howie is their favorite judge, Natch. They perform to a Pitbull tune “Fireball.” Actually, the group did not create this routine for AGT. The bald caps are an homage to Pitbull, who is known for his chrome dome. They dance with precision. And how refreshing to see a female dance team basically cross-dressing.
Howie calls it fun and funny. “Amazing.” Simon is curious about what they’ll bring to the next round. They have something planned already. 4 yeses Howie takes the stage to dance with his “dopplegangers.”
Amanda Mammana – Singer-Songwriter
Nineteen year old Singer-songwriter/producer from Trumbull, Connecticut attends Liberty University. NBC leaked her audition a few days ago. In it, Amanda shares honestly about her speech impediment, before singing an original song. Amanda’s dad is with her, watching off to the side with Terry. She performs a tender, original song that describes a difficult childhood, that in hindsight, she wouldn’t change, because it made her who she is. The song’s melody is very pretty, especially the chorus. Dad is wiping away tears offstage. At the end, Amanda is so relieved, she cries too.
Howie asks her why she’s crying and she says, as a kid, she never felt like she was good enough. Howie thinks she’s moving millions of people. “There is a fire inside of you,” says Heidi. Sofia admires her guts. Simon calls her voice authentic and pure, and he compliments her songwriting. – 4 yeses
Alex & Daria – The duo do a quick bit on skis that Simon calls “clever, but pointless.” They get buzzed pretty fast – 4 nos
The Lazy Generation – Comedy stunts
This group hails from the UK and has their own show on Comedy Central UK called Lazy Generation: Stupid Stunts. The group’s name refers to not wanting to do “normal stuff.” Britain’s Got Talent wouldn’t let them do what they wanted, so here they are in America. It’s kind of like Jack*** where they do stunts where it appears that someone is getting hurt. It’s pretty stupid. For instance, a pillow fight with cases full of hardware.
Sofia buzzes them while Simon is on his feet clapping. Yuck. Oh. Howie mentions Jack***. Heidi really liked it and is curious to see more. Simon loves this stuff, as does Howie. No thanks. Sofia says no, but the rest say yes. – 3 yeses, Sofia says no
Professor Murat’s Flea Circus – Novelty act
The joke is that “fleas” are invisible, and so ha ha ha as the professor narrates their invisible tricks. Or something. The buzzers come pretty quick – NO
Sergio and Lucy – Dancing rolling doll duo
A take on dancing dolls, but with roller blades. Sergey Korolev, from season 10 and 13’s Sergey and Sasha, runs the act, which has debuted in Vegas. Oh well. They get buzzed by every judge. He throws off the costume, and everyone is surprised it’s only one person (The show featured a similar act in the last year or two. Not sure how they didn’t figure it out). “I’m saying no to the three of you,” says Simon. – 4 nos
Yu Hojin – Magician
NBC leaked this audition a few days ago. Yu appeared on AGT as part of the popular Las Vegas Illusionist act that performed on a results show in 2016. This is his first time on AGT as a contestant. Yu performed with the Illusionists for 7 years, before striking out on his own. However, he also spent two years in the South Korean army. He shares that his parents weren’t initially supportive of his career in magic. But his dad finally said he’d give his blessing if Yu strived to be the best he could be. The presentation is beautiful, fluid. But the magic itself is rather rudimentary. He’s skilled. But I kept thinking about his black shirt, and how he was probably pulling stuff out of it. Also, the frame he uses also obviously plays a big part. Regardless, Yu has a very very nice smile.
Howie calls it one of the most original magic acts he’s every seen in his life. OK then. Heidi loved his calm presentation. Simon was expecting something huge, and it didn’t materialize. He’s got a point. The tricks were just OK. His act is 100 percent presentation, which is very very good. Simon says no. but the rest say yes. – 3 yeses Simon says no.
Chapel Hart – Family country singing trio – Group Golden Buzzer
The New Orleans-based trio (originally from Poplarville, Mississippi) has released two independent studio albums and five singles. The group is one of the hottest unsigned country acts, as CMT selected them as one of the network’s 2021 “Next Women of Country” artists. Two of the members are sisters, and the other is a cousin. They perform an original called “You Can Have Him, Jolene,” inspired by the famous Dolly Parton song. The song is really fun and throw-backy. The group performs with a ton of energy and their harmonies have that sharp, beautiful quality that families often do. They get the audience out their seats. The song is a girl power take on “Jolene.” Basically, “cheater can eat it.”
“Trust me, I needed you today,” says Simon. “Fantastic.” The lead singer is crying as she describes trying to make it in country music. Howie loves the song, the look, the energy. Heidi calls their joy “infectious.” Sofia is “so proud” of the group. Simon wants to give them a golden buzzer. Hmm…. I smell a group golden buzzer. Simon confabs with the group, as if they didn’t do a group buzzer last year and it’s completely novel. They all press it. Chapel Hart will go straight to the live shows.