‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Cuts 1 recap: Who earned Ken Jeong’s Golden Buzzer on July 17? [LIVE BLOG]

After six weeks of episodes devoted to auditions, “America’s Got Talent” moved on to the next stage of the competition on July 17 with the first of four shows dedicated to judge cuts. Twenty performers presented their act in front of the “AGT” regulars — Simon Cowell, Heidi KlumHowie Mandel and Mel B — as well as guest judge actor Ken Jeong.

By the end of the episode, these 18 acts will be winnowed down to just seven who will advance to the live quarter-finals. One of these will be extra special as they’ll have been hand-picked by Jeong for the Golden Buzzer treatment. In so doing, he can overrule the other judges with and send his favorite act straight through.

Below, read our “America’s Got Talent” Season 13, Episode 7 recap of the acts in the order in which they took to the stage on Tuesday’s episode. Who are you most excited to see perform in the live shows? Be sure to sound off with your thoughts down in the comments section.

8:03 p.m. – The very first act in this new stage of the season was the dance crew Junior New System. You’ll remember them as the Filipino guys that wear 6-inch heels while dancing. Tonight’s routine started with the guys in sneakers, but by the end all had switched to their signature heels and did so without losing any of the energy of their performance. Mel was especially vocal about her love of the crew, screaming during and after their show. Heidi applauded their explosiveness and ability to “create moments.” Both Howie and Simon were also positive, saying that they improved upon their first audition, and Ken was impressed having seen them for the first time tonight.

8:13 p.m. – Next up was Harold and Regan who also danced, but we only saw a short cut of their routine. With a little bit of joking, Mel insinuated that their chemistry was lacking and that their act suffers because of it.

8:15 p.m. – Following that up was Us the Duo, the married singing couple who also announced tonight that they’re pregnant with their first child! Tonight they sang another original song, a piano ballad, that offered them both an opportunity to shine and served as an example of a duo with perfect chemistry. Though he didn’t like this song as much as the one they auditioned with, Simon was still complimentary about their act. He was backed up by Ken and Howie, who had reservations about their songwriting skills and cautioned that they haven’t performed a hit yet.

8:24 p.m.Kevin Blake was up next with his magic act that failed to win Simon over completely in the first round. Tonight he used Mel as his assistant, taking her outside and asking her to to put one of her diamond rings in a ring box and then attach it with ribbon to a set of balloons. Kevin let the balloons go and they flew into the sky. Back inside they returned to the judges’ table where he had Simon open a wrapped gift that was a box with Mel’s ring inside! Howie called the act original and Simon said it was an improvement on his initial audition.

8:27 p.m. – After Kevin, Mochi took the stage with his diabolo and projection act. Again tonight, as he juggled the diabolo graphics were projected on the screen behind him that moved in sync with his own turns and movements. At the end of his performance all five judges were on their feet. Ken and Simon loved his showmanship and recognize that his love for what he does is authentic.

8:35 p.m. – 11 year old Lily Wilker returned with her animal noise act, this time creating the sounds of the jungle rather than those of the farm that she performed last time. She was followed by the singing dog act Oscar and Pam, but Mel was not pleased and actually hit her red X! The act is still one of Simon’s favorites though and he vowed to fight for them.

8:38 p.m. – In his first audition, Daniel Emmet was stopped mid-song and asked by Simon to learn and sing another song of his choice and with that one he blew everyone away. Tonight his focus was song choice and making sure that he picked the right thing to impress the judges. Once again he sang an opera in Italian and luckily made it through the entire thing without being stopped by Simon. The song had a huge final note that got everyone except Simon to their feet, but in the end Simon was proud of him and joined the others in support for his act.

8:47 p.m. – The Voices of Hope children’s choir was up next and with more performance experience under the belt was better prepared for tonight with “How Far I’ll Go.” The song started with a series of four three female solos before erupting into a full-choir harmony at the first chorus. Full disclosure, the song is one of my favorite Disney songs and at the peak of their performance I literally had chills! Mel felt the performance strongly too because she got emotional, as did Ken who after Heidi and Simon sent in their support hit his golden buzzer and sent the choir straight through to the live shows! You could tell during the performance that he might do it because he seemed utterly speechless.

8:58 p.m. – Last time Aaron Crow performed he used Howie as an assistant, using swords in a daring act that could have decapitated him. Tonight he asked Ken and Heidi to be his assistants which completely terrified Ken! For the act he took one of Heidi’s rings, placed it inside a hollowed out apple and then set that on top of her head with Ken holding it in place. Then, while spinning on a turntable, Aaron shot a bow and arrow from across the stage through the apple, hooking the ring on the arrow and hitting a bullseye. Incredible! All of the judges loved the act, but Simon made it clear that he’s never going to be used as an assistant in one of his future shows!

9:10 p.m. – Like Ken who left his job as a doctor to become a comedian, Carmen Lynch also left her job later in life to be one. In her comedy act tonight she had Mel, Ken and Howie rolling with laughter at her jokes. Ken loved her “dry wit” and said she has a specific point of view and that’s a huge plus for her. Heidi and Simon seemed less thrilled with her as an act that could advance to the live shows, but Ken was determined to fight for her.

9:12 p.m. – For her second audition with the judges, Christina Wells sang “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman,” a song that Simon said is one of the best he’s heard in years. The huge song was once again just what the judges wanted (and now expected) from her, even if it was a little pitchy in parts as pointed out by Mel. Giving her some advice, Simon told her to continue to grow and said that he knows the best is yet to come from her.

9:22 p.m. – Young rapper Patches was the next to perform in the hopes of realizing his dream of becoming a broadway superstar as well as getting verified on Twitter (LOL). Tonight his original song was about his “fast” life since his first audition. Ken, seeing him for the first time, was thoroughly impressed and so were the other judges who all agreed that he stepped up his game from the first audition.

9:30 p.m. – Singer Andrew Johnston performed again tonight, but Simon wasn’t a fan saying that something wasn’t connecting and that he was too predictable. Meanwhile, with a ton of personality came the older married couple Celina and Filiberto who promised to turn up their hip hop dancing act from their initial audition that had left Mel cold. To do so they included a quick costume change, complete with gold necklaces, and some freak dancing all over the stage. Ken called them lovable and said he was completely entertained, but all ears were on Mel who this time around was more convinced because they had an actual routine this time!

9:40 p.m. – With only a few acts left to perform, we sped through Trinh Tar My‘s trapeze and balancing act and the trampoline act from Jack Tenney who followed through on Simons request that he jump on to the trampoline full of tasers without shorts on this time. Neither of those acts were total hits with the entire panel, setting the stage for the final act, trapeze artists Duo Transcend. Tonight they were suspended high in the air, doing flips and holds as well as drop-and-catches all set against a backdrop of fire on the stage and culminating in a moment where Tyce, blindfolded, was set to catch Mary once more but she slipped through his grasp and landed safely on the pad below them. The judges were sympathetic to the falter and stressed that every act doesn’t have to be perfect because what they had already done was incredible enough.

9:53 p.m. – With all of tonight’s acts wrapped, the judges were set to make the tough decision of which six would join Voices of Hope as the seven to advance to the live shows. After deliberating with Ken, the six other acts advancing are: Junior New System, Us the Duo, Mochi, Aaron Crow, Duo Transcend and Christina Wells.

10:00 p.m. – Next week is another round of Judge Cuts with actress Olivia Munn as the guest judge with her own golden buzzer to use on one act. See ya then!

SEE Watch all of the ‘America’s Got Talent’ Golden Buzzer acts on season 13 and vote for the best

More News from GoldDerby