‘America’s Got Talent’ episode 8 recap: Rewatch your favorite acts in ‘Best of the Auditions’ special

“America’s Got Talent” season 15 continued on July 21 with another two-hour episode showcasing the best acts from the auditions round, reminding us how deep the talent is this season. In the audition phase of “AGT,” an act needed at least three of the four judges (Simon Cowell, Heidi KlumHowie Mandel and Sofia Vergara) to give them a “yes” vote to advance to the next round, except in the weeks when Heidi was absent from the panel and only two of the three remaining judges needed to support an act.

Each judge, along with host Terry Crews, had 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 8 in our minute-by-minute blog.

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8:02 p.m. – First up tonight was Simon’s golden buzzer moment for W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew, the We Are Family For Life Entertainment street dance group. We were reminded of their mission to inspire and financially aid their community in the Bronx, NY as positive role models. Simon was enamored with their energy and determination, calling them his “favorite audition so far.”

8:11 p.m. – Next we saw Double Trouble‘s audition, the 31 year old twin sisters from Peru by way of San Francisco. Sofia was a huge fan of their “fun” and “full of energy” vocal and dance performance to “It’s Raining Men.” In her words, she “loved seeing two Latina girls doing their thing.” And Heidi backed her up in that, adding that they could “sing the roof off this place.”

8:20 p.m.Brandon Leake‘s audition was special because the was the first spoken word artist to ever appear on the show. He was an introduction to the art form for Simon, who at the time was not familiar with how a poet’s talent would translate into the show’s format. Simon was so taken by Brandon’s performance that he felt like it was inappropriate to judge it, instead wanting to just compliment him on the tribute he delivered for his sister. Howie was also moved by the poem, likening his performance of it to a raw heart beating. With such strong emotion in his favor, Brandon became a golden buzzer act for Howie.

8:31 p.m. – Entertainer Brett Loudermilk‘s interest in the world is to entertain people in any way that he could. For his audition he brought Sofia to the stage to, well, pull swords out of his mouth. As a sword swallower, Brett would slide a sword down his throat and the trick was to have Sofia remove it, despite being terrified that she’d do something to hurt him. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the entire planned act, but because of Sofia’s overreactions it changed to the more daring act of all three judges removing a sword each from his mouth. By the end, the judges loved his ability to improvise and keep his show entertaining the whole time.

8:44 p.m. – As a single mother living in her car, AGT is an opportunity for Cristina Rae to improve her circumstances and the life of her little son. Despite Cristina beginning one song and Simon asking her to go with her second choice instead, she was impressive enough in her vocal talent and the rendition of “Gimme Shelter” that Heidi asked her if she was ready… ready to get the golden buzzer!

8:55 p.m. – When diabolo artists the Spyros Bros first began their audition you could tell that the audience was confused about whether they’d be a good act or a bad act. It wasn’t until one of the brothers tossed the diabolo over the judges dais from the audience and to the stage that the crowd got on board with them. At that point the brothers began working together to juggle it between each other while also doing flips and other tricks.

9:05 p.m. – Next up was the first golden buzzer act we saw in the season, Terry’s choice of Voices of Our City Choir. The group is for and in support of people experiencing homelessness with their city of San Diego. The choir wrote the song they performed themselves, from their own songwriting workshop. The group as a whole inspires the homeless men and women to focus their energy in a positive direction and they even fundraise to aid families to escape homelessness. In the middle of judging, Terry stopped the others so that he could approach the dais and show just how much he was moved by their song.

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9:17 p.m.Alan Silva came to the show with the added bonus of finally being able to show his wife and kids his act in person. As a little person he opened up about the bullying her endured throughout his early career as a circus performer, but his silk aerialist audition was impressive enough to prove his haters wrong. Guest judge Eric Stonestreet thought that it was the kind of performance that inspires people “that don’t look like everyone else” to pursue their dreams.

9:29 p.m. – 10 year old Roberta Battaglia was able to realize her dream of performing for the judges with her rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Shallow.” Luckily she fought through the nerves (again, 10 years old!) to deliver one of the judges’ favorite vocal performances of the season. While Howie was the one calling her talent and age unbelievable, it was Sofia that heaped the biggest praise on Roberta with a hit of the golden buzzer!

9:42 p.m. – It was a big stage and live audience debut for Vincent Marcus, a social media performer that quickly had the crowd on its feet once they realized he was a vocal impersonator. For this audition he rattled off verses by famous rappers like Eminem and Snoop Dogg. Simon and Howie called him current and a great live performer.

9:51 p.m. – The final performance we saw tonight was by Archie Williams, a man who had just been released from prison after a 37 year old sentence he wrongly served for someone else’s crime. In prison, singing was his salvation and in coming to AGT singing provided him redemption. His rendition of Elton John’s classic ballad “Don’t Let the Sun God Down on Me” was not only the perfect song to describe his own personal journey, but also a great vehicle for his raspy, raw and emotional voice. Without a doubt the audition was the most powerful one of the season and the most rewarding to see play out on screen as the judges lavished him with praise and honored the courage that his life represents.

NEXT WEEK: The judges social-distantly assemble to watch new at-home performances from each of the acts in order to determine which ones will advance to the live shows from this Judge Cuts round.

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