“America’s Got Talent” season 15 continues on June 16 with another two-hour episode showcasing the best (and worst) auditions. In this phase of “AGT,” an act needs at least three of the four judges (Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara) to give them a “yes” vote to advance to the next round. If two or more judges buzz the act, it is immediately eliminated.
Each judge, along with host Terry Crews, has one chance to hit the “golden buzzer” and send an act straight through to the live performances. Terry was inspired to press his golden buzzer on the season 15 premiere by the performance of the Voices of Our City Choir. Their mission is to serve the homeless community of San Diego. In their audition they sang “Sounds of the Sidewalk,” an original tune written and produced through their songwriting clinic. In the second episode, new judge Vergara made it rain gold for 10-year-old Roberta Battaglia who delivered a stunning rendition of Lady Gaga‘s “Shallow” with her mature-for-her-age voice. Then, on the third episode, Heidi sent singer Cristina Rae straight to the live shows as her golden buzzer act.
Below, follow along as we recap all the action on “America’s Got Talent” Season 15 Episode 4 in our minute-by-minute blog.
8:03 p.m. – Tonight’s first audition came from dancer Noah Epps, a confident 11 year old whose father was beaming with pride as his son walked on stage. Prior to the routine, Howie told Heidi that it’s harder for solo dancers to command the stage, but after Noah’s awesome marionette-themed show Howie had to eat his own words. The judges loved that he managed to tell a story in such a short amount of time and he made them all want to see more from him. So naturally we’ll see him in the next round on the heels of a sweep of yes votes from the panel.
8:09 p.m. – We didn’t see much of the next audition, but the bits we did see of the band Liliac performing a Janis Joplin classic was promising. Hopefully they’ll get a better edit in the next round since the judges seemed to love them much more than tonight’s editors did!
8:10 p.m. – Right after Liliac we saw Sicilian singer Luca DiStefano take the stage. To everyone’s surprise, Luca’s voice was in a very deep register. So deep that it was perfect for his rendition of “Let’s Get It On,” but it was hard to tell if he was actually good or if the crowd was just cheering for the unlikeliness of that voice coming out of that man. Certainly the judges were caught up in the surprise of the act, but that didn’t stop them from calling his talent “special” and giving him the votes to go to the next round.
8:20 p.m. – Prior to WAFFLE Crew‘s audition we saw two dance pairs, a juggler and a roller shoe skater all eliminated because the judges didn’t feel their talents were exciting enough. So when this seven man dance crew from New York took the stage the pressure was on for them to deliver. And if the judges were looking for something fresh and different than other crews have shown then these guys did just that. Their trick-based and solo-moments-focused routine was one that made Simon declare that their energy and determination made them stand out from the pack. He actually enjoyed it so much that he stood up and hit the golden buzzer for them!
8:34 p.m. – Nashville musician Nolan Neal came to AGT to share his story of his father’s suicide and his own personal spiral that has led him to his present of sobriety and a second chance at making a career in music. For his audition he performed the song “Lost,” one he wrote as soon as he completed treatment. After the song Simon said it was clear that everyone in the room loved it and many were likely inspired by him. Sofia, someone who knows the sickness of addiction well in her own life, was emotional following the performance and in speaking for people who also struggle told him that it’d mean a lot to them, too. With so much love for him on the panel, Nolan advanced to the next round easily.
8:47 p.m. – Feng E was next up with his electric ukulele. There was a vibrancy to his performance that had the judges smiling from ear to ear leading them all to agree that he should go on for a second audition in the next round.
8:49 p.m. – 55 year old standup comic Christine Hurley also brought high energy to the stage. Her delivery was rapid fire and through the first half she had the panel and the audience rolling with laughter, but it caught up with her midway and she slipped up with a clunker of a punchline that completely threw her off. Though she was unable to recover, the judges were supportive. Howie gave her a yes, Simon gave her a no and Heidi gave her a yes, leaving the decision up to Sofia. Unfortunately Sofia went with no and so Christine was sent home without her second chance.
9:01 p.m. – For Siberian performers Olox the hope was that they’d bring the universe’s energy to the stage with them. Using traditional singing techniques of their culture, Olox performed “Zombie” by The Cranberries. No, that’s not a typo. That’s what they sang! And it was pretty good, especially once the chorus kicked in and you could recognize the song. The judges called the performance captivating in an unexpected way and because it was clear that the audience also loved it, they each supported advancing Olox through to the next round!
9:12 p.m. – For the next audition Heidi was missing from the panel (the explanation was that she was feeling unwell) and so the act only needed 2/3 yes votes in order to advance. That act was Ashley Marina, a young vocalist from Pittsburgh. Simon was not a fan of her song choice, Martina McBride‘s “Anyway,” because of the overbearing backing track and so he had her sing a second song a cappella. Still he didn’t enjoy it and told her she brought the wrong songs to the show. He gave her a no amidst the booing of the crowd, but Sofia urged Simon to let her return later in the show for another chance.
9:23 p.m. – In the meantime we met superfans and diabolo act Spyros Bros. While their entire audition was impressive, their best trick involved shooting the diabolo across the audience and over the judges table and back to the stage. Howie felt excited because they were so excited to be there and on top of that their act was entertaining. Even without Heidi on the panel it was an unanimous vote to send them through to the next round.
9:35 p.m. – Next, Ashley returned but after practicing other songs originally performed by a guy (based on Simon’s recommendation) she decided that instead she’d perform an original song of her own. This time Simon didn’t cut her off and so she was able to finish the song, receiving a standing ovation from the panel and the entire audience. Howie called the song connected and beautiful, and Simon was relieved that they finally “got to meet” Ashley as an artist. So on her third try Ashley got three “well-deserved” yes votes!
9:46 p.m. – Self described “entertainer” Brett Loudermilk was the final act of the night. After announcing himself as a sword swallower, Brett moved over to the judges table to ask Sofia to join him on stage as his assistant through his act. After allowing the sword to slip all the way down his throat, Brett’s instructions were to have Sofia pull it from his mouth, but after two attempts she was too scared to!
9:53 p.m. – Thankfully on the third attempt Sofia finally pulled the sword out, and the judges, thinking that was the entire act began to critique him only to find out that Sofia’s difficultly engaging with him derailed the rest of this performance! And so moving on, both Simon and Howie agreed to come up on stage to pull swords out of Brett’s throat and then Sofia returned as well. With three judges on stage, Brett decided that he’d put three swords down his throat at the same time and have each of them pull one out. And one by one they did to an eruption of cheers from the audience. In the end, Howie liked his ability to improvise, proving that he’s a true entertainer with an ability to keep a show going no matter what. After all was said and done it was a yes vote from the guys and even Sofia gave Brett a yes to see him again in the next round!