Each of the first four audition episodes of Season 14 of “America’s Got Talent” has concluded in the same way: one of the judges presses the Golden Buzzer and sends an act straight through to the live performances. On the episode that aired on June 18, new host Terry Crews sang the praises of the Detroit Youth Choir. Prior to that three of the four judges had weighed in with their special picks: newcomer Gabrielle Union chose singer and pianist Kodi Lee; Simon Cowell went with 11-year old violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa; and Howie Mandel opted for rapper Joseph Allen.
Will the other rookie judge, Julianne Hough, use her one-time chance to change someone’s life on the June 25 episode? If she doesn’t, we will have to wait until July 9 to find who gets her Golden Buzzer as next week’s episode is a “best of” compilation.
This is the fifth of the six episodes that showcases the best (and worst) auditions on “AGT.” An act must get a yes vote from at least three of the four judges to move on to the the next round. Conversely, if at least two judges buzz an act, it is immediately eliminated.
Below, read our “America’s Got Talent” Season 14, Episode 5 recap of the acts in the order in which they took to the stage on Tuesday’s episode:
8:10 p.m. – Terry led a full marching band into the theater to pump up the crowd for tonight’s episode. It looks like the audience is ready for a good night! Moments later, Nick & Lindsay Williams walk out on stage and introduce themselves. They’re a married couple who are looking quite dapper. Lindsay plays violin and Nick is an opera singer who has found it difficult to find work in New York. After quite a buildup, things get disappointing when Nick begins singing with just an average voice and Lindsay’s violin skills sound elementary at best, causing Simon to hit the X. But suddenly, Lindsay drops the violin and shows her true talent! As Nick continues to sing, Lindsay begins throwing knives at him with her hands AND feet! Including one knife that’s on fire while she’s blindfolded. This musical/comedy act has won the audience over. Despite the audience’s change in tune, Nick is still offended Simon doesn’t like his voice, but three yeses are enough to get this duo into the next round! Simon asks Lindsay if she will throw a knife with him with her feet and if she doesn’t kill him, he will change to a yes. It’s four yeses!
8:20 p.m. – 11-year old Izzy and 14-year old Easton are young dancers who are best friend who are performing a piece about an older brother going off to war and leaving his younger sister behind. The duo is very poised and within seconds you can see they are the real deal. They’re flexibility, strength and acrobatic skills are impressive. There isn’t a weak link in this duo and they’re maturity in dance is beyond their years. A standing ovation follows the performance and they get the stamp of approval from the judges, led by Julianne’s enthusiasm for this dynamic, young couple.
8:30 p.m. – Lamont Landers is a 27-year old musician who used his guitar to cope with the divorce of his parents when he was a teenager. Hoping to use “AGT” as a platform to launch his career to the next level, Lamont begins playing “Let’s Stay Together,” but Simon criticizes him for singing a “safe wedding song.” Lamont offers to play “What’s Going On,” but Simon says Lamont is getting on his nerves because he’s cocky and doesn’t understand he’s playing the wrong style of music. Lamont hesitates before heading backstage to find another song.
8:40 p.m. – A frustrated Lamont begins rehearsing a new song with some music professionals backstage and hopes he can turn Simon’s frown upside down with one more 90-second audition. He thanks them for a second chance and begins to sing, but Simon interrupts him again and tells him to shake out his nerves and slow down. This is torture! He begins again singing “Dancing On My Own,” and it’s not completely smooth since he just learned the music, but his voice sounds great. After all that struggle, Simon gives Lamont a standing ovation and Lamont breathes a sigh of relief. We’ll see him in the next round!
8:50 p.m. – And just as things were warming up, Death walks in. He’s 2.4 billion years old and lives with his Dog Gordon in California. Since taking human form, Death has become a stand-up comedian in addition to his regular reaping. Simon looks annoyed at first, but the audience is already laughing from his introduction alone. But alas, his first joke falls completely flat and Simon hits the red X. The bad jokes continue and Julianne is next to hit her X, but Howie thinks it’s so bad that it’s good. Gabrielle is next to hit the X. Finally Howie puts Death out of his misery and judges say no to death tonight!
9:00 p.m. – Next to perform tonight is a choir from South Africa that is hoping to realize the American dream. They’re from a small community called Limpopo that has a high poverty rate. Many of the members of this choir are orphans and it has changed their lives. Coming from one of the poorest communities in the world and singing “My African Dream,” Ndlovu Youth Choir is definitely different than most we hear on “America’s Got Talent.” They’ve got choreography to go with their African hymn and this feels like a spiritual moment. Gabrielle is on her feet before the performance even ends and the other judges soon join her. The judges are thrilled with the audition and Simon says they’ve waited for a choir that sounds like nothing they’ve heard before. They’ve got four yeses and they’re heading to the next round!
9:20 p.m. – Up next is a pair of men who have developed a virtual reality that will allow people to face fears they’ve never dreamed of before. Simone & Lorenzo are psychologists from Rome who have developed this technology to promote mental health and overcome phobias. They invite Howie on stage to put him in a virtual situation where he will find out he’s capable of things he didn’t think were possible. Howie puts on his headset and is immediately transported into a new world and we are able to see what he sees on a big screen. He must walk across a series of ropes to save someone’s life that is in danger. On stage, Howie is simply on a green screen, but he thinks he’s tightrope walking across a canyon. This is mildly entertaining, but I’m not as entertained as I want to be. The live audience appears much more thrilled about this than me. I’d give this a hard pass, but the judges put them through to the next round.
9:25 p.m. – A 10-year old girl named Iman is next on stage and her nervous giggles soon subside to reveal a young diva in training. She wows the audience with a beautiful rendition of the opera classic “Nessun Dorma.” This is definitely an impressive performance, despite the fact that we’ve heard this song numerous times on “AGT” before. Iman nails the high notes without flinching and the audience goes wild as the judges jump to their feet. Simon calls her “absolutely fantastic” and Howie says her life will never be the same and her dreams are about to come true. Gabrielle says, “You’re just a star.” Four yeses for Iman!
9:40 p.m. – Cute dog alert! Next up is a friendly fur ball named Falco who will be performing a K-9 freestyle with his owner, Lukas. Falco is getting older and Lukas wants to give him a big bang at the end of his career. As “Footloose” plays, Lucas and Falco do some fun dancing tricks that are adorable, but I can’t say it’s terribly original. I mean, I’m a sucker for an adorable pooch, but I feel like I’ve seen this a million times. Regardless, Falco receives a deserved standing ovation and Simon calls it the best dog act this year. They’re moving on to the next round!
9:50 p.m. – Verba Shadow Show is a Ukranian performance group who loves to spread the message of love. Anyone who watches “AGT” regularly knows that we’ve seen plenty of shadow groups, so to stand out, they’ve really got to bring something special. With a mix of shadow work, special effects and live theater, this is something different than I’ve seen before! What begins as a beautiful love story quickly turns to a brutal war zone, death and grief. It’s beautiful, it’s depressing and it’s heartbreaking all at once. Some may think this went too far with violence in the middle, but I found it absolutely brilliant! The audience seems to agree with me and Julianne is fighting off tears. Gabrielle called it “achingly beautiful and haunting.” That sums it up perfectly. They earn a much deserved spot in the next round!
9:59 p.m. – We’ve got one more act tonight and everyone is hoping the Golden Buzzer changes the course of someone’s journey. Will Julianne use the last Golden Buzzer on Ben Trigger, a dancer from Australia? Growing up, his life revolved around dancing but being a “gay, fat dancer” wasn’t what people wanted to see. Often he would be cut from auditions before they even saw him dance and now he wants to prove himself to all those bullies that he deserves to be seen. When Ben begins to dance to “Boogie Wonderland,” the judges son’t look thrilled and can’t seem to decipher if this is a joke or not. Soon, Ben shocks everyone and strips down to an itsy bitsy costume and shakes his nipple tassels right in Simon’s face before laying down on the Golden Buzzer and accidentally unleashing confetti on himself! Julianne was impressed with his moves and Gabrielle loved that he “came to slay.” Howie calls the accidental Golden Buzzer his favorite ever. Simon thinks he’s hilarious and although his Golden Buzzer was revoked, Ben is still moving on to the next round! That’s a wrap and a hilarious finish to tonight’s episode.