“America’s Got Talent” season 15 resumed on July 14 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. Simon hit the button for WAFFLE Crew in the fourth episode, naming them his favorite audition of the season, and Howie bestowed his upon the show’s first ever spoken word poet, Brandon Leake, in the sixth episode.
Below, follow along as we recap all the action on “America’s Got Talent” Season 15 Episode 7 in our minute-by-minute blog.
8:01 p.m. – Though all of the golden buzzers have been given out and the auditorium remains empty due to rising COVID-19 concerns, the “show must go on” with more auditions to fill out the next stages of the competition. Tonight’s first auditioner was Alex Hooper in his triumphant return to the show after trying out a few years ago with a terrible set of jokes targeting the judges that got him buzzed off stage. Alex vowed that he’d be presenting a “new Alex Hooper” and with an apology to the judges, but after just one joke it was clear that yet again he had developed a comedy set just to take jabs at all the judges and Terry. That being said, the judges did laugh this time and he at least avoided getting buzzed away. In fact, he got all three judges to say yes and so he’s moving on to the next round!
8:10 p.m. – Life-size puppeteers Lightwave Theatre Company sought to “give people hope” with their productions. Tonight’s show was about a girl and her relationship with her dog, both puppets set aside the backdrop of a drawn cityscape. The panel loved the performance and Howie especially thought it was unique. And so it was an easy call for the judges to give them one unanimous vote through.
8:21 p.m. – Country music singer Kameron Ross lost interest in his music once he came out of the closet as a gay man in Texas. He came to AGT as a step toward getting back into his dream. His rendition of “Red Dirt Road” by Brooks & Dunn was solid, but Simon asked him to sing something else and a cappella in order to prove that he can stand out. Simon told him that he is memorable, but that going forward he’d have to make songs his own rather than being so faithful. But, yes, we will be seeing him again because he got a yes from each of the three!
8:31 p.m. – 50 year old John Sevier Austin was encouraged by his friends to try out for the show, but at first listen I think they were playing a joke on him. Turns out that his gibberish singing was actually him singing a song in reverse! Simon wasn’t into it, but because both Howie and Sofia supported him he advanced!
8:33 p.m. – Next was Chicken Scratch Sam who attempted a set of jokes not only based on chicken puns, but also while dressed as a chicken. Once again it was enough for Howie and Sofia who loved the silliness of it, overruling Simon’s no!
8:35 p.m. – Speaking of gibberish and silly, TheNinjaTwins were up next with their tightly woven communication style of talking with and over each other, as twins are prone to do. Unfortunately their actual talent of singing and dancing to their own song wasn’t as good as their ability to complete each other’s sentences, at least not for Simon who buzzed them. Fortunately for them, they were the third act in a row to earn the two votes from Howie and Sofia that got them a pass to the next round.
8:46 p.m. – Comedian John Hastings learned to use comedy as a retort to school bullies early in life that saved him from continued heckling from his classmates. His set tonight focused on age and looks as an expression of the frustrations we grow into later in life. He was also very funny in his sarcasm about how empty the room was and having to perform for only three people, all of him loved his set and gave him a vote through to the next round.
8:57 p.m. – Next up was the Jefferson Davis High Band who smartly descended to the stage from the back of the auditorium. They were more than just your basic band, but instead a marching band that jam-packed their audition with dancing, high energy, choreography and a combined spirit of love and cheer. The judges gave them a standing ovation and high praise before rattling off three yes votes to see them again in the next round.
9:07 p.m. – Though she arrived just that morning from Australia, Siena‘s audition as a blindfolded dancer and acrobat went quite well. Simon loved that it was something he’d never seen before and with Howie and Sofia both on board as well she advanced!
9:09 p.m. – Right after Simon admitted to never having been to the opera before, Natalia and Gilad of Voce Nova took the stage to sing opera. Unfortunately Howie was more enamored with Gilad’s ascot than Simon was with their performance. Instead of singing opera in the traditional manner, they switched it up into something uptempo that didn’t quite gel in the good unexpected way. It was a no vote across the board from the judges.
9:19 p.m. – When Sheldon Riley took the stage they refused to respond to Simon’s introductory questions and instead went straight into their version of Billie Eilish‘s song “idontwannabeyouanymore.” Based on their interesting vocal tone and striking fashion it was a totally compelling performance. They explained that they’re rather shy, but that singing and performing on the world’s biggest show helps get them out of themself. Both Howie and Simon loved the mysteriousness of their identity due to the rhinestone mask, joining Sofia for three well-deserved yes votes!
9:27 p.m. – For the next set of auditions Terry explained that after nine days of try outs in the theater that they suspended going any further due to the increasing threat of the spread of COVID-19. For that reason they reopened video submissions so that the talent could perform from their homes directly to the judges, even Heidi (!!!), who joined them via video chat.
9:29 p.m. – First up with the at home audition was Chris and Sid, a guy and his dog who opened up from their truck. The reason they were in the truck was for aesthetic, I think, but also so that they could play a track they could sing to together. Heidi said that if the fans could have heard their duet that they’d be clapping for them and Howie said that a guy and dog singing together is the kind of warm thing the world needs. Easily it was a yes from each of them!
9:33 p.m. – Next was Jonathan Goodwin, a daredevil that proved he could catch an arrow being shot at him from close range by a crossbow. Then Tommy Socks, an advanced aged man who did what Heidi called a “happy feet” dance across his living room. And we also saw a dancing family from Miami then 8 year old Alexis with Puppy Pals from Florida that performed a dog & friends act. With all four acts the judges loved them enough to give unanimous yes votes to the next round.
9:45 p.m. – Mentalist Max Major joined the judges another day with the steep task of proving his psychic ability without being in the same room as them. In one teaser act he made it seem like he was moving their fingers through controlled body motions, but then impressed them more with his ability to select the same random card from a deck that Sofia selected from her own deck. The judges were excited about the effort he put into his presentation and can’t wait to see him on the big stage, which they will since they all voted yes!
9:47 p.m. – The next audition was father (human cannonball) and daughter (blew herself up) daredevils who had both auditioned for the show in previous seasons and pre-recorded a video of them performing together as a duo. After that was a family that danced together, using comedy and the digital aspect of their presentation as a way of impressing the judges. Erin McCarthy also auditioned from a farm in Oregon singing opera while on horseback. The judges found her strategy with the horse very smart and it had them cracking jokes through their bizarrely positive reactions to her performance so she, like the other acts before her, will be seen in the next round!
9:54 p.m. – In a short recap of the auditions we’ve already seen, the judges’ commentary reminded us just how strong this season has been, especially with those golden buzzer acts! Which first round auditions were your favorite?