‘America’s Got Talent: The Champions’ recap of January 20 episode [LIVE BLOG]

Episode three of season two of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” featured 10 more acts from around the world . Among those that took the stage on the third episode that aired on January 20 were season 3 AGT champion Michael Grimm, finalists from the most recent season violinist Tyler Butler Figueroa and dance troupe V.Unbeatable as well as 2015 quarter-finalist dance group Freckled Sky.

Three champions from elsewhere in the world also competed on Monday’s show: 2016 “Italy’s Got Talent” winner beat boxer Moses Concas, 2018 “Poland’s Got Talent” winner acrobats Duo Destiny and 2009 “Norway’s Got Talent” winner dance trio Quick Style. And rounding out the 10 were 2019 “Britain’s Got Talent” finalists magician Ben Hart and Alexa Lauenberger and her dog act as well as 2019 “Holland’s Got Talent” finalist danger act Miki Dark.

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”, in “The Champions” 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.

Read our minute-by-minute recap below to find out which four acts from Monday’s episode moved on in the competition.

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8:02 p.m. – Because Simon stole the Golden Buzzer moment from him last week, the button is back in the hands of Howie this week. That means Howie was given the opportunity to pluck his favorite act of the night out of the pack and send them directly to the final.

8:03 p.m. – Up first to perform was the young German Alexa Lauenberger and her dog act who won “Britain’s Got Talent.” This season she’s 11 years old now, but with Heidi on the panel she’s extra excited to be competing in America. What’s most impressive about Alexa’s dog act is that she’s taught the dogs themselves to be the props and assistants of each other with the larger dogs forming a bridge for the smaller ones to hop over. And then the 8 dogs finished by forming a conga line! The judges were impressed with the amount of control and discipline Alesha had over her dogs at such a young age, on top of the performance bringing them all pure joy.

8:12 p.m. – The next performer was Tyler Butler-Figueroa, the 12 year violinist who made it to the finals in the 14th season of AGT. In earning Simon’s Golden Buzzer last year, Tyler’s confidence has greatly improved as has his resolve to continue to inspire young kids all over the world. Tonight he performed to country music remixes alongside his troupe of backup dancers, all wearing overalls and cool flannel shirts. Alesha loved the musicality and the “swag” that Tyler added to the violin.

8:23 p.m. – It was London magician Ben Hart‘s turn next who was looking to improve upon his third place finish on “BGT.” Ben’s storytelling aspect of his performance was a bit distracting tonight, but it was the confusing beginning and ending that really struggled to connect with the audience and the judges. Both Howie and Alesha pointed out Ben’s nerves, calling the overall presentation “awkward” while Simon asked “that’s it?” Apparently doubling one grain of rice into two and then later converting the rice to water wasn’t enough to compete among the other champions.

8:33 p.m.Freckled Sky returned for “The Champions” for redemption after they only made the quarterfinals in season 10 despite getting a Golden Buzzer on their first audition. The mistakes in their second performance ultimately cost them the chance to win and to fulfill their dream. Tonight their projection-based dancing told the story of two dolls and their battle between work and love. Simon was not a fan of the group — suggesting that their act “hasn’t caught up with technology” — and so he hit his red X, but Howie, Alesha and Heidi all found it to be beautiful and executed well.

8:44 p.m. – Beat boxer Moses Concas, champion from Italy, took the stage next for the biggest opportunity of his career. The slow start to the performance was difficult for Simon to overcome who said that the harmonica playing seems to have “barely gotten started.” Howie appreciated that he was able to both beat box and play the harmonica at the same time, but admitted that it wasn’t strong enough to compete with the other acts.

8:56 p.m. – The return to AGT for V.Unbeatable meant their chance to represent India among the champions and to do better than their previous 4th/5th place finish. Prior to their performance Howie told Alesha that they’re one of the most exciting acts he’s ever seen on the show. Not only does the troupe dance with immaculate precision, but they also achieve stunning acrobatic tricks like they’re the world’s best cheerleading squad. The energy that they created in the auditorium with their performance was deafening, but nothing quite as loud as when Howie sat, yes sat (!!), on the Golden Buzzer and sent them on their way to the final!

9:06 p.m. – When Michael Grimm won season 3 it was Howie’s first season as a judge and so his return for “The Champions” was extra special for him. As a naturally shy person, Michael wasn’t good at handling the success and so he’s taken a step away from the limelight in the last 10 years. Terry thought Michael seemed a little nervous before his performance, but if so then it certainly didn’t show on stage because he knocked his bluesy soul vocal out of the park. Alesha loved the depth and raspiness of his voice and the humility of his personality, but Simon thought the song was too safe for his amazing voice.

9:17 p.m. – The winners of “Poland’s Got Talent” Duo Destiny knew that coming to “The Champions” would pit them against the best of the best in the world, presenting them with a bigger challenge than their original season. Tonight was their first performance in America and so it came it a ton of nerves. In their dance routine they incorporate balancing, flexibility, trapeze and death drops that make them seem like one of the most daring acts to perform. Heidi called their audition “sexy, romantic and breathtaking” and added that there was not one imperfection. Simon thought they were “astonishing” and even complimented their song choice–an uncharacteristically positive response from him tonight!

9:28 p.m.Quick Style won “Norway’s Got Talent” in 2009, going on to star in commercials and choreograph for major acts like BTS. Needless to say, they came to “The Champions” over 10 years later with something to prove and success to defend. They prefaced their performance with a sort of plea for the audience to bear with them as they do not it as explosive of an act as the rest, admitting that the style tonight is slower than they judges might expect. Their routine to “Ain’t No Sunshine” was quite beautiful and their musicality came through, but it didn’t impress Howie who hit his red X. Heidi and Simon backed him up a bit, but Alesha really loved their sophistication and the change in pace that they presented.

9:40 p.m. – The final act of the night was Miki Dark who entered from the audience wearing a frightening mask and costume that matched the ominous red and black stage he’d perform on. For the act he brought Terry and Heidi on stage to help him with what would be a quite daring trick. But in the same way that magicians can wow us, Miki also did when he threw a knife at Heidi to strike a specific envelope that was poured from a bucket by Terry above her. Alexa hit the nail on the head when she complimented his ability to create a great atmosphere to present his talent and that the whole thing worked really well.

9:52 p.m. – With 9 acts still waiting to hear if they’d advance to the semifinals, Terry announced which of them made it through on the super fans decision. Those two acts were: Duo Destiny and Tyler Butler-Figueroa!

9:56 p.m. – Then it was down to the judges to pick the final act from a selection of three: Quick Style, Alexa Lauenberger and Michael Grimm. Alesha voted for Alexa. Howie voted for Alexa. Simon was next to select and he, too, chose Alexa which means Alexa Lauenberger and her dogs will be in the semifinals!

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