“America’s Got Talent: The Champions” continues on Monday with the fourth of five episodes showcasing the top 50 acts drawn from around the world. Another 10 take part on the January 28 edition of this spin-off from “AGT” including two past winners of the main show: performance artist Kenichi Ebina who won “America’s Got Talent” in 2013, and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin who took the title two years later.
Of the other eight acts, only one won in their respective country: Moonlight Brothers, a dance group, waltzed off with victory on “Denmark’s Got Talent” in 2018. Another, kid magician Issy Simpson, was the runner-up on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2017.
Five of the acts on the bill on Monday lost their bids to win “America’s Got Talent.” Among these are the Texas Tenors, an opera act that came to fame on the show a decade ago. On episode 3, opera tenor Paul Potts, the 2007 “BGT” champ, won over the superfans and will contend in the final.
The other four “AGT” finalists set to perform on episode 4 of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” are: Brian Justin Crum, singer (AGT 2016); Kechi, singer (AGT 2017); Drew Lynch, stand-up comic (AGT 2015); and Tape Face, comedic mime (AGT 2016). The roster is rounded out by the oddest act of all, regurgitator Stevie Starr who grossed out audiences on “BGT” in 2010.
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8:01 p.m. – In the last three weeks we saw Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel all send their favorite acts through to the final with the Golden Buzzer–tonight it’s Simon Cowell‘s turn to make someone’s dreams come true. The other nine acts will compete for the favor of the super fans across the country that will decide which one of them will be the second act to move on.
8:03 p.m. – The first performer of the night was Issy, the kid magician from Britain only a little over a year ago when she was 8 (now she’s 10). In her act she managed to correctly predict that Simon would choose the word “excellent” from a random page chosen from one of three books and that Howie would select a card from a deck that she already had printed on her t-shirt. It was an illusion we’ve seen many times before on the show, but as a kid magician her charisma is off the charts and the judges think that she has the “it” factor it takes to be a successful performer. Simon added that her “competitive spirit” is one of her great traits and that she’ll be a contender for the super fan vote.
8:13 p.m. – For the Texas Tenors, their first time on AGT wasn’t easy because of the tough criticism they faced from the judges. But because of that they worked harder, managed to push all the way to the finals and began a successful career working as musicians after the show. Tonight they sang a rendition of “Unchained Melody,” focusing on their signature harmonizing through what was otherwise a pretty drowsy arrangement of the song. The judges were nevertheless blown away and gave the guys a standing ovation. Heidi called them “schmaltzy” but clarified that she likes “schmaltzy” and Simon noted that they have good chemistry and that they’ve gotten better since their time on the show.
8:24 p.m. – The next act was comic Drew who was the runner-up to ventriloquist Paul who was also a performer tonight. Drew was actually Howie’s Golden Buzzer in that original season and so this Champions season is his second chance to live up to the promise Howie placed in him then. In his set Drew referred to his stutter as an opportunity for his audience to hear “the remix” of his jokes which set off a train of bits that poke fun at himself. Mel was passionate about her love for Drew and wished there had been more time, but Simon thought he’s done better sets before.
8:37 p.m. – With a headlining show in Vegas following his season win, Paul’s goal for Champions is to prove that he is actually best of the best and to maintain his reputation. Tonight he performed what he thinks has never been done by a ventriloquist act on the show before–he managed to do a boombox beat from his own mouth while also doing a completely separate humming sound for his puppet at the same time. It took a while for his set to get to that moment and through it Simon looked bored, but Howie was impressed by his comedy and how he makes ventriloquism into an art form.
8:49 p.m. – Up next was the other previously winning act, Moonlight Brothers from Denmark. Determined to up their game for this American version they performed a series of acrobatic, comedic and hip hop-focused dance moves that had Heidi and Simon bopping their heads, but Howie looking slightly perplexed. In her critique, Mel admitted that she expected more and Howie had her back, saying that he didn’t enjoy it either.
8:59 p.m. – Because Tape Face couldn’t introduce himself, we got right in to his performance next with Howie joining him on stage for assistance in the mimicry of an early 90s rap dj. Later Terry Crews joined in a second scene that saw Tape Face dressing him up in a silly outfit and then joining the other judges at the panel and beckoning Terry to perform something as if he was a contestant. In all it was a comedy act that made the judges all stand up in appreciation, call him one of the most memorable acts in series history and wish that he makes it through on the super fan vote.
9:09 p.m. – For Kechi, AGT became a place for her to be recognized as a singer rather than a survivor and so her trip back to the show is to continue to follow her dream and be an inspiration to others. Tonight she triumphantly sang “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott, showing off both the lower and softer register of her voice as well as the booming power she can go to in a large chorus. Simon was the first of all the judges to stand in congratulations of her performance and for good reason because after hearing the acclaim from he other judges she became his Golden Buzzer!
9:22 p.m. – With only one spot left to make the finals, the artist Heidi declared her absolute favorite of all time, Stevie the regurgitator, took the stage. Tonight he managed to regurgitate: an unscrewed bolt and screw that he screwed while inside him and a cherry tomato and small blade that he promised to slice while inside him (at this point Simon hit his red X). The two tricks may have made Simon feel sick, but Howie appreciated his polarizing talent and Heidi continued to drown him with praise for him being so unique.
9:35 p.m. – For Brian Justin his return to the show is his chance to try again and be smarter about his song choices in order to progress through the competition and actually win. With that goal in mind, he chose to sing the Elton John classic “Your Song,” popularized recently by the film “Moulin Rouge!” The performance earned an extended standing ovation from the entire crowd and the judges, making him one of the favorites to grab that super fan vote. Simon called the performance “in a different league” from what he’s done before and said that he could be catching on to a new trend in music after “The Greatest Showman” and “A Star Is Born” made musical-esque songs popular.
9:45 p.m. – The last act of the night was dancer Kenichi who was nervous because of his age and the relative strength of dancing acts since he won the show in six years ago. For his routine tonight he incorporated a space age theme with graphics that matched his choreography, including two special moves that gave the illusion that he had separated parts of his body from himself. It resulted in another standing ovation from the room and Heidi commending his ability to always come up with something new.
9:53 p.m. – With Kechi already through to the final, Terry announced the three acts that earned the most votes from the super fans: Brian Justin Crum, Paul Zerdin, Tape Face and Drew Lynch. It turns out that there was a tie and so four acts advanced to this next stage, but still only one could advance to the finals and that act is: Brian Justin Crum! That makes it two for two on singers tonight, and another former winner is sent home.