‘America’s Got Talent: The Champions’ recap of January 13 episode [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Episode two of season two of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” will feature 10 more acts from around the world . Among those taking to the stage on the second episode that airs on January 13 are two of the als0-rans from the most recent season of “AGT” — singer Luke Islam and comedian Ryan Niemiller — as well as 2015 finalist mentalist Oz Pearlman, 2017 quarter-finalist singer Puddles Pity Party and 2012 quarter-finalist danger act Spencer Horsman.

Representing “Britain’s Got Talent” are the 2014 champions singing group Collabro and 2019 runner-up magician Marc Spelmann, as well as 2016 semi-finalist danger act Ben Blaque and finalist dance troupe Boogie Storm. Rounding out the roster is 2011 “Pilipinas Got Talent” winner singer Marcelito Pomoy.

SEE ‘America’s Got Talent’ winners: Where are they now updates for first 13 ‘AGT’ champions [PHOTOS]

While Terry Crews has returned to host, there has been a shake-up of the judges. Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel are still on the panel but the other two judges from last season’s “AGT” — Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union — are gone. In their place are long-time “America’s Got Talent” judge Heidi Klum and Simon’s pal from “Britain’s Got Talent” Alesha Dixon.

As with the regular edition of “AGT”, each judge gets a Golden Buzzer that will send one act straight through to the final. Three other acts will get put through each week. Two will be chosen by a group of super-fans that NBC gathered from all 50 states and one will be a judges save.

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8:02 p.m. – Control over the Golden Buzzer tonight is in Howie’s hands which means he gets to send one act straight through to the finals. Three other acts will be sent through to the semis–one from a judges’ save and two from a vote from 100 superfans across America.

8:03 p.m. – The first act of the evening is the 2011 champion of Philippines’ Got Talent, singer Marcelito Pomoy. While his voice is strong enough on its own, what makes it unique is that he can switch between his high and low tones with incredible ease. Tonight Simon was smiling from ear to ear throughout the performance and Heidi was jumping up in absolute shock over his shifts from voice to voice, culminating in a full-panel standing ovation at the end. The judges called him unique, out of this world and brilliant.

8:12 p.m. – Marcelito set the bar high for the night right from the start, making the follow-up performance from mentalist Oz Pearlman a tough spot in the show. He kicked it straight into high gear by asking three of the judges to pick a memory from a specific day and then managed to match the addition of the numbers of those days to the serial number of a dollar bill that also was already written on a board on stage. I thought Alesha’s comment to him was particularly important here because she mentioned his stage confidence, something that really stood out to me. His trick was mind-blowing, but ultimately his star quality comes down to how well he manages the crowd and the pace of his show. Really great.

8:24 p.m. – Dance group Boogie Storm from Britain’s Got Talent season 10 was up next with an electrifying and acrobatic performance to a medley of pop songs. Their schtick relies heavily on their costumes as Star Wars storm troopers, but aside from that their dancing is rather pedestrian and gimmicky… even if Simon calls them one of his favorite acts ever. On BGT they were Simon’s Golden Buzzer choice and so he urged Howie to give it to them again this season, but Howie refused and Heidi agreed with the refusal… but… Simon hit the buzzer anyway… and it stands. They’re headed to the finals. Thankfully Heidi stood up to Simon and voiced her reservations about the group as a gimmick act that she isn’t impressed by. I’m with her!

8:34 p.m. – Also from Britain’s Got Talent, Ben Blaque returned to attempt his roulette act that failed on BGT and led to his original elimination. He came to the show tonight seeking redemption! Once again he brought Alesha on stage to assist in picking at random 4 of 5 crossbow shots where one of them is aimed at his heart. I guess it must be part of the act, but it got off to a real rough start. So much so that I actually had no idea what was happening as they cut the performance to go to commercial. LOL?

8:44 p.m. – After the commercial and a third jam in the equipment later the judges all hit their red X buttons in order to stop the performance, refusing to allow it to continue on. Apparently the jams weren’t a part of the show and instead his confidence was legitimately shaken and the judges were not comfortable allowing him to finish it. Yikes.

8:47 p.m. – The third straight BGT alum act was Collabro, the all male singing group that were the winners of season 8. They came to this show for their chance to make it big in America after being successful with their music in Britain. Tonight they harmonized their way through a rearranged version of “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” Amazingly their version managed to suck all the life from a song that won an Oscar last year. Alesha told them she’s heard them do songs better than that and Heidi called them “nice, but now wow.” Howie disagreed, but Simon backed the women up by calling the performance “wimpy.”

8:56 p.m. – After a handful of divisive acts, Ryan Niemiller was called to the stage to deliver one of his best comedy sets. Tonight he came out with confidence and jokes focused on his newfound fame since being on the show in 2019. After his set the crowd began cheering “Golden Buzzer” and Howie expressed frustration that he no longer could give it to Ryan. Simon told him that he felt better about his act tonight than he ever did on the main show and says he probably raised his game being up agains the best.

9:07 p.m. – Sad clown Puddles Pity Party had a residency in Las Vegas following his appearance on AGT in 2017. His look and stage persona is the entry point for what quickly diverges toward a verifiable singing act that is decent enough to stand on the merits of his voice alone. Tonight he sang “I Want to Know What Love Is,” fitting for his persona as a saddy, but what really won the judges over was a slideshow of dogs wearing the iconic Puddles crown that included all of Alesha, Heidi and Simon’s dogs. Howie reiterated that Puddles is “special” and deserving of standing out from the crowd, but Alesha pulled back saying that she’s not sure he’s good enough to be among champions.

9:19 p.m. – Magician Marc Spelmann earned a Golden Buzzer on his original season of BGT, but didn’t meet expectations in his follow-up performance and then returned to the show as a finalist, but under costumed character X the entire time. On Champions he returns as himself and X… and, well, someone else. You see, for his act tonight he began by putting on his X mask and then playing a random choice game with the judges and after Howie said Shin Lim is his favorite act he ended his trick by removing his mask to reveal himself as last year’s AGT Champions winner Shin Lim! Surely there’s an explanation for this?

9:30 p.m. – Season 14 semifinalist Luke Islam sang again to realize his dream of one day being a Broadway performer, but tonight he wanted to prove something different — that he can sing something other than show tunes. This evening he took on the Celine Dion song “Ashes” from “Deadpool 2,” but without putting enough of his own spin on it made the song just feel like it was out of his league. Alesha said that she could hear the nerves in his voice and Simon cautioned him that it was the wrong song choice because it didn’t showcase his range.

9:40 p.m. – The final act of the night was Spencer Horsman, once the youngest escape artists in the world at the time of his appearance on season 7 of AGT. Tonight he chose to attempt one of his most dangerous acts that he’s already had trouble with in the past. For the trick he was submerged in a tank of water and then raised 30 feet in the air, allowing himself only 2 minutes to escape the box and hook himself up before the bottom of the box drops and empties him and the water to the ground 30 feet below. With literally not one second to spare, Spencer achieved what he promised and saved himself from falling! Aside from the risk factor there wasn’t much to speak about it, but the judges did commend him the thrill of it and for his bravery.

9:54 p.m. – From the remaining 9 acts, the superfans chose 2 acts to go through to the semifinals. Those two acts were: Marcelito Pomoy and Marc Spelmann!

9:57 p.m. – That left Spencer Horsman, Luke Islam and Ryan Niemiller as the 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the superfan vote and it was up to the judges to vote for one to advance by majority vote. Simon sided with Ryan. Alesha voted for Ryan as well. Heidi settled it straight away and went with Ryan, too. And so Ryan Niemiller advances to the semis!

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