“America’s Got Talent” moved one step closer to the season 16 final with the second of the two semifinals that aired live on Tuesday September 7. In this round, 11 acts per night, including wild card selections brought back after elimination in a previous round, perform for the judges. Three acts will advance to the finals based on the overnight audience vote. The 4th, 5th and 6th vote-getters will compete live for the Dunkin’ Save which one will earn and another will be saved by the judges.
On the September 7 live show, Simon Cowell. Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara will watch a line-up led by a trio of Golden Buzzer acts: Heidi’s choice, quick-change artist Lea Kyle; Howie’s favorite, the Northwell Nurse Choir; and the panel pick, opera prodigy Victory Brinker.
Also in the hunt for the season 16 championship are: the vocal group 1aChord, mentalist Peter Antoniou, stand-up comedians Josh Blue and Kabir Singh, dance troupe ChapKidz, acrobats Rialcris, singer Brooke Simpson and unicyclists UniCircle Flow.
Below, follow along with our live blog as we recap all the action on “America’s Got Talent” Season 16 Episode 17 in our minute-by-minute blog.
8:04 p.m. – Up first tonight was 1aChord, the singing trio that met by chance seven months ago in their college cafeteria and bonded over their shared love of faith and song. Tonight they sang “Every Breath You Take,” harmonizing their voices while one member accompanied on the piano. At the end of the song they were joined by a small chorus to add some heft to the performance and turn it all up a few notches. The judges were all smiles, loving that they included choreography and stepped it up from their previous performances. Heidi screamed that it was amazing they turned a rock song into a hymn. Simon said that the arrangement of the song was hit or miss, but that their vocals were insane (in a great way).
8:14 p.m. – The women of UniCircle Flow were determined to redeem themselves in this round after a couple of mistakes in their previous performance. Tonight their 80s disco themed performance to Dua Lipa’s “Physical” did not disappoint with the numerous acrobatic lifts and more elevated balancing tricks. Heidi said that it was light and bubbly tonight, proving that they are a versatile act with a lot of potential. Sofia liked that their outfits didn’t cover the unicycles and so for the first time we could see the prop better. Simon added that in the past they were boring, but with the music change this time it was a completely different act and they may have elevated enough to make the final.
8:25 p.m. – Quick-change artist Lea Kyle also underwhelmed some of the judges in the previous round and so tonight was another chance to (dress to) impress. Once again she used techniques that made the garments appear to disappear out of thin air as well incorporating them with props like flying butteries and petals flying through the air. Heidi reinforced that she thinks Lea is the best quick-change artist they’ve ever had and Sofia agreed by saying that all of the work that goes into her garments and tricks is amazing. Simon switched his tune this time and called it a genuine million dollar performance and said she’d be a huge hit in Vegas. Howie added that she’s deserving of having her own show in Vegas and it would be entertaining enough.
8:34 p.m. – Comic Kabir Singh‘s goal with AGT is to live up to the promise he made his dad to live out his dream and take care of his mom. Tonight his comedy set detoured from the typical topic of his mom and turned toward his dating life. Unfortunately the set was shaky, so much so that toward the end of his time Simon hit his red X in an effort to express disapproval. Simon began the critiques by saying the set wasn’t going great and the buzz somehow made the act better. Howie noted that there’s a lot of pressure and comedy is hard, acknowledging that it didn’t go as well as Kabir wanted it to. Heidi said that she did hear laughs from the audience and that regardless he’s likable and easy to watch. Sofia joined Simon in the disapproval, noting that he was visibly nervous and that his energy was off.
8:45 p.m. – The Northwell Health Nurse Choir is a group that inspires their colleagues, patients, families and the whole world every time they sing. Tonight they continued that tradition with a rendition of “Don’t Give Up on Me” by Andy Grammer with a mix of choral moments and perfectly placed solos. The judges awarded them the first standing ovation of the night with their Golden Buzzer supporter highlighting how touching and needed they are as an act. Sofia thought this week she could hear their voices more clearly and so it made it more enjoyable. Simon said that their song selection is always perfect and that this week they made him grateful that they decided to make the show this year.
8:57 p.m. – Mentalist Peter Antoniou had Terry help him on stage with a random collection of photos that were submitted by fans at home in order to tap into the thoughts based on photos alone. He also had Sofia pick one of the photos randomly and communicate telepathically to Peter what was on the photo. Unfortunately that trick did not work as he didn’t describe the correct photo that was in her hands, but when he closed the set with projecting his own thoughts into Terry’s head so that Terry described correctly what was in a picture in Simon’s hands he really redeemed the whole thing. Heidi said that Peter’s stage presence is great and that he’s perfect for Vegas. Overall, Simon was confused why the trick with Sofia went wrong and it gave Peter an opportunity to address that things don’t always go right with mentalism, but Simon still hit his red X.
9:12 p.m. – In the last round Simon predicted that Victory Brinker will be one of the biggest stars to ever emerge from a competition talent show. After another opera performance tonight, Victory further impressed Simon who said that she sounded like she climbed the biggest mountain of a song. He added that her talent is matched by her fearlessness. Heidi encouraged Victory to do a mic drop (which she did) to celebrate the kind of performance that is worthy of winning the competition. Howie and Sofia agreed that it was a stellar performance and that she could be a frontrunner to win.
9:23 p.m. – The ChapKidz dance crew took the stage tonight with a hip hop routine that highlighted their synchronicity and tutting skills while underscoring that they’re one of the most high energy acts of the season. The judges enthusiastically stood in ovation for them as the crowd cheered louder than they did for any other act. Heidi said their precision was perfect and they may have secured a spot in the finals. Simon topped that excitement by calling it the best performance of the night and Sofia expressed that she already can’t wait to see them perform again in the finals.
9:33 p.m. – It’s important to keep in mind that it can take months and months of practice for the brothers of Rialcris to perfect the 2-minute act that they assemble for an AGT performance. Tonight that training delivered more human tower acts where the guys lifted and balanced one another in what seems to be the most impossible ways, like feet hooked around necks and dual one-armed handstands. Once again Simon was grumpy and hit his red X (third time tonight!) as the other judges excitedly clapped for the act. Sofia called it creative and exciting, but Simon noted that it’s been the same slow act every time they’ve hit the stage. Heidi and Howie both enjoyed the performance, saying that trust, strength and danger all combine in their act.
9:44 p.m. – The second comic of the night, Josh Blue, centered his set on the Paralympics and how he was on the soccer team before, but his best moments were off-the-cuff reactions to the clapping of the audience. Sofia kicked off the critiques by highlighting how much the judges laugh during all of his sets and applauded him for being a multi-talented person. Simon likes that Josh doesn’t care and that’s why he’s a lovable comedian. Howie made the point that he might be the strongest comic in the competition in a year that he’s said multiple times is the year of the comedian.
9:56 p.m. – Closing out the night and the round of semifinals was Brooke Simpson, the singer wanting to become the biggest Indigenous pop star. Tonight she sang “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran by injecting her own pop vibe into it bright lighting and by working the stage and camera angles like a pro. Simon was visibly blown away by the performance and said that the second half of it was spectacular. Sofia commented that Brooke is so confident on stage and said it’s clear she was born to do it.