Season 14 of “America’s Got Talent” reaches the half point of the audition stage of the competition on June 11 with another two-hour episode showcasing the best (and worst) acts. In this phase of “AGT,” an act needs at least three of the four judges (Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough, Howie Mandel and Gabrielle Union) to give them a “yes” vote to advance to the next round. If at least two judges buzz the act, it is immediately eliminated.
While Gabrielle and Julianne are new to the panel (they replace Mel B and Heidi Klum), the format remains the same as it has for years. “America’s Got Talent” airs initially just on Tuesdays with these first six weeks devoted to the auditions that took place around the country. Then there will be four weeks of Judge Cuts beginning in mid July, followed by live shows in August and September.
Each judge has one chance to hit the “golden buzzer” and send an act straight through to the live shows. Gabrielle did just that in the premiere episode after she was won over by the backstory and performance of Kodi Lee, a 22-year-old blind singer with autism.
Below, follow along as we recap all the action on “America’s Got Talent” Season 14 Episode 3 in our updating live blog.
8:02 p.m. – Tonight’s first audition was from dancer Marina Mazepa who began with a brief ballet moment before deconstructing that into something more, well, out of the box. The rest of her performance was a showcase of her talent at flexibility, bending and contortionist. At times she looked like a creature from a horror movie, but all the while it was impressive movement. To say the panel of judges was fully gagged by the audition is an understatement–Simon was nearly speechless! But they all agreed that she delivered and stood out, leading each of them to vote YES on her moving on to the next round.
8:09 p.m. – 26 year old magician Dom Chambers was up next, following in the footsteps of the many magicians of AGT past that have done well in the competition, but also in the shadow of his own grandfather’s legacy. For his act he teased the audience with an empty paper bag that ended up not being that empty at all. Instead he pulled two glasses of beer out of it, then out of his shoe and his jacket, and made an entire bottle of wine appear out of thin air. The act utilized comedy as much as it did magic so the audience was thoroughly entertained. The judges agreed that he started off pretty slow, but once he got started his personality took hold and he turned it around. In the end they all voted YES and so we’ll see him in the next round.
8:20 p.m. – When Carmen Carter took the stage for her audition things quickly took an emotional turn when the judges asked why she’s remained a background singer for so long. In her past she was told by a record executive that she was “too big” to be a lead singer and it killed her confidence from that point forward. Her audition of “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS blew the roof off the building in a major way. The judges were on their feet with the rest of the audience and sang her praises in their critiques. And so it was a unanimous YES from all four to send her through!
8:32 p.m. – For their audition, Brasilians Edson and Leon of Dupla o Tempo, both in their 80s, entered the stage with a translator and with very little movement or energy of their own so that when they began doing body balancing and lift tricks with one another it left everyone shook. The judges loved the surprise and Simon told them that acts like theirs are why they have the show in the first place.
8:42 p.m. – In a “second chance” audition, Sethward the Catepillar from last season returned this year as Sethward the Giraffe. After going into a story about how he was dropped on his head in birth, the judges all Xd him off the stage like clockwork. Then when he passed out and was dragged off stage by Terry, he managed to moon the entire audience. Probably his best trick in both seasons. Later he came back out as Sethward the Walrus, but that flopped, too. And by flop I mean he literally rolled off the stage. Womp womp. But after the walrus act, Howie and Simon both switched their X to a YES, leaving it to the newbies to turn things around–Gabrielle kept the X and amidst cheers from the audience to say YES, Julianne kept her X, sending him permanently back to wherever he came from.
8:55 p.m. – 13 year old singer Charlotte Summers is a huge Simon fan and so she was very anxious to take the stage to sing for him. As it turns out, she didn’t need to be nervous at all because her version of “I Put a Spell on You” was immediately powerful, tinted with the deep bluesy sound of someone like Amy Winehouse. Of the judges, Gabrielle was the first to stand for her, but eventually they all did. As a small bit of advice, Simon asked that she drop the backing tracks in the next round–and in the next round she’ll get that chance because they all gave her a YES to get there.
9:06 p.m. – When Kevin Schwartz took the stage he was following another act that failed to impress the judges because of her nervousness. For Kevin, “fear has ruled [his] life” due to severe anxiety that eventually turned into an agoraphobia diagnosis, but once he discovered comedy he was able to fight against those fears. His set consisted of small quips and one-liners that garnered a handful of laughs each time while confusing others at first. Though it took a while for the audience and judges to understand his style, by the end they were on board with him and loved his act. His reaction to receiving a YES from each of the judges and a standing ovation from the audience as he left the stage was as dry as his humor, but I think he was proud of himself!
9:18 p.m. – Following a string of NOs for other singers, MacKenzie took the stage to perform “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince. Luckily he was able to take advantage of what he called the “massive opportunity” and impress the judges with his great voice. He had Gabrielle crying by mid-song and Simon was doing that “oh this is so good” form of silence with a smirk. When he finished his audition, MacKenzie was also in tears, even before he brought her on stage to honor her as his inspiration. Needless to say, it was a clear YES from the panel to see him sing again in the next round.
9:29 p.m. – Just as singers are usually most anxious to meet Simon, dancers are now nervous to audition in front of Julianne. Unfortunately for Yuriyan Retriever, Julianne was not into her dance-comedy audition and so joined Simon in hitting her X which made it impossible for her to move on to the next round.
9:41 p.m. – Exotic bird trainer Michael Paul brought his friend Willy to the stage with him. Willy, an exotic bird of prey, is actually a puppet that Michael performed with through ventriloquism. In whole, the act proved to be multifaceted because Michael was not only a talented ventriloquist, but also as funny as any comedian and could even do impressions of celebrity voices. The judges had a lot of fun watching Michael’s audition and so it was an easy YES for them to send him through to the next round.
9:51 p.m. – For the final audition of tonight’s show, 11 year old Tyler Butler-Figueroa came out with his violin which he’s been playing since he was 7. As he told the judges, Tyler began playing the violin as a way of combating bullying at school due to his Leukemia that he was diagnosed with at the age of 4. In his performance he gave a lively performance of Kelly Clarkson‘s hit song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and had the entire room on their feet. It was clear that the judges were going to send Tyler through to the next round, but that wasn’t enough of a statement for Simon and so he decided to hit the golden buzzer and send the very talented Tyler straight through to the live shows!