“America’s Got Talent” is getting closer to the live shows, with the second of four episodes dedicated to judge cuts airing on Tuesday, July 23. This week’s guest judge is NBA all-star Dwyane Wade, who is married to rookie “AGT” judge Gabrielle Union. As with his wife and the other three regular panellists (Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough and Howie Mandel), Dwyane also gets a Golden Buzzer.
Eighteen acts who made it through the audition phase are hoping to be singled out for this special honor, which will send them straight through to the quarter-finals next month. Six of the other acts will also get the green-light from the judges to proceed to the next stage of the competition.
They will join the lucky seven acts who were put through last week when Brad Paisley was the guest judge. Among these was Brad’s pick for the Golden Buzzer, Sophie Pecora, a young singer-songwriter. This rapper/spoken word artist who plays guitar won over this country superstar with an original song.
Below, read our “America’s Got Talent” Season 14, Episode 8 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.
8:00 p.m. — Terry Crews is pumping up the crowd and introducing tonight’s guest judge, three-time NBA champ Dwyane Wade. He will get to hand out a free pass straight to the live shows to his favorite act tonight. With 18 backstage ready to perform, we better get started!
8:15 p.m. — Up first is the danger act Bir Khalsa, a trio of friends from India who enjoy performing, gossiping and shopping. What a combination! Dwyane looks shocked to see that one of these guys is 7’6 and even makes the NBA star look small. For tonight’s performance they one guy balances (stomach down) on a razor-sharp sword. Next, assistants place a large, heavy block of ice onto the big man before another members begins smashing it to pieces. To take things a step further, he hammers the man right on his bare chest. What’s next? Smashing coconuts on each other’s foreheads…blindfolded! I’m not a huge fan of danger acts like this, but the crowd certainly responded and the judges are on their feet. Dwayne calls it “entertaining and unique,” while Gabrielle says they’re awesome in a “freaky deaky way.”
8:20 p.m. — Tonight’s second act is GFORCE, a five-member girl group that has been rehearsing every day since their first audition. This group of Canadian youngsters is singing a song called “Simon Says,” in hopes of gaining the judge’s attention. It’s an empowering song and these little girls are rapping, singing and dancing around the stage. I imagine there is a nation of kids who probably love this kind of act, but I can barely tolerate watching 90 seconds of this. The judges absolutely love them and Gabrielle says she became a judge precisely for this moment. Dwyane loves their swag and attitude. Howie thinks they’re adorable but doesn’t think their performance was enough to move forward. Thank you Howie! Simon loves them.
8:30 p.m. — Olivia Calderon is tonight’s third act on stage and she plans to win over the judges with her singing voice. Considering her performance was significantly cut, I doubt she did. Dwyane flat out told her it “wasn’t his thing.” I respect his honesty. Hoping he can win over Dwyane is Dom Chambers, a charming magician who has planned something bigger and better than his previous audition. Dom hands Julianne a list of cocktails and has her circle one without him seeing. He then unveils his assistant, Siri, who is full of funny insults for the magician but nothing but compliments for the judges. Dom goes onto pull a card directly out of his cell phone that happens to be the card Howie chose. Next, Dom pours a Tequila sunrise out of his phone and lets Julianne have a taste. The crowd likes this handsome magician and Dwyane says it was the best magic he’s ever seen.
8:45 p.m. — The next act to be cut short in the TV edit is danger act Mat Ricardo. He sliced up some vegetables before appearing to nearly cut off his arm, but it was all just fun and illusion. Next up is Lamont Landers, a soul singer and guitar player who hopes to make a better impression than his first. Last time Simon made him come back out and sing again and he barely made the cut. Tonight he’s singing “Walk Me Home” by Pink and I’m totally underwhelmed. Julianne agrees with me, but the other judges seem to like him. This guy needs to be cut, he’s not ready.
8:55 p.m. — Up next is Adaline Bates, a half-drag singer who displays her impressive range by singing as both a man and a woman. Most of her performance was cut this round so she’ll likely be sent packing. The same can be said for ventriloquist Michael Paul and drag singer Gingzilla. Will Alex Dowis, a blacklight painter, turn things around? He plans to tell a story with his painting tonight and begins with a portrait of President John F. Kennedy and the story of the first moon landing. It’s a unique talent that I haven’t seen before so I’d say he’s got a good shot at moving forward. All the judges are on their feet.
9:10 p.m. — Kicking things off in the second hour of tonight’s episode is V. Unbeatable, a dance group from Mumbai, India. They’re performing in honor of their friend Vikas who passed away due to an accident six years ago in rehearsal. This crew ranges in age from 12-27 and they’re not only great dancers, but their acrobatic skills are incredible. Members are flying all over the place and even bouncing off each other in mid-air. It’s pretty incredible. This is easily my favorite act of the night so far. Bravo! The judges are absolutely gobsmacked and they haven’t shown this much excitement with any other act. Dwyane says his heart is beating at a rapid pace that he’s never felt before. He says, “Today, on this stage, this is your house.” We’ve got a Golden Buzzer moment from Dwyane! Congrats to V. Unbeatable, they deserve it.
9:20 p.m. — The next act tonight is Izzy and Easton. They are 11 and 14 years old, respectfully, and show creativity and strength beyond their years, but have fallen victim to the dreaded short edit on tonight’s episode. Another dance group, ADEM Show, also gets cut short before Verba Shadow takes the stage. This shadow dance group is able to tell a fairy tale on stage through their movements and it’s fun to watch. Their mix of shadows, technology and lighting make this look like a movie on stage. For as fun as this was, the judges aren’t exactly sure what story Verba Shadow was telling. I’d say they’re probably safe though.
9:30 p.m. — Next up tonight is Robert Finley, a singer who has been belting it out his entire life. The 65-year old put his dreams aside earlier in life to take care of his daughters, but now they’re ready to stand behind him and watch him pursue his dream. After working as a carpenter, his vision slowly deteriorated and now he’s ready to rock and roll his way to a million dollars. He’s singing an original that I believe is called “Medicine Woman” and if I didn’t know this was an original I would just assume it’s a soul classic I hadn’t heard before. Despite being blind and barely moving, this man owns the stage and has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. The judges love it and Gabrielle says he just put everyone back stage “on notice.”
9:40 p.m. — Duo Fusion is a married acrobatic act that specializes in hand balancing. These two rip off their leather jackets and show off their incredible strength in a sexy act that has the judges feeling goosebumps. Howie jokes that they were depicting an afternoon at Gabrielle and Dwyane’s house. That was hot, but can they make the cut? One act hoping to take their place is Valerie Sassyfrass, a wacky singer who can’t hold a tune to save her life, but it’s impossible to take your eyes off her. Well, it’s impossible for me anyways. Simon, Howie and Julianne each give her the red X after she sings about being horny and getting crazy. It might be a tough night for Valerie, but Gabrielle plans to fight for her.
9:50 p.m. — Last on the stage tonight is stand-up comedian Ryan Niemiller. The 36-year old had a rough childhood growing up in a trailer park with an alcoholic father. Ryan also has a disability and pokes fun at his own appearance a lot. In fact, it is sort of all he does. He’s got good stage presence, I would just like to hear him focus on more subject matter. I didn’t laugh, but the judges and audience seem to enjoy it. He’ll definitely make the live shows.
9:59 p.m. — The judges have made their decisions and seven acts have moved on to the live shows! See the full list of quarter-finalists as well as who was eliminated below. That’s a wrap for tonight!
The Seven Quarter-finalists: V. Unbeatable, Dom Chambers, GFORCE, Robert Finley, Bir Khalsa, Ryan Niemiller and Alex Dowis.
Eliminated: Adaline Bates, Valerie Sassyfras, Mat Ricardo, Olivia Calderon, ADEM Show, Verba Shadow, Izzy and Easton, Gingzilla, Duo Fusion, Michael Paul and Lamont Landers.